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Microsoft takes .NET open source and cross-platform
2372 points by ethomson  7 days ago   892 comments top 154
jpgvm 7 days ago 7 replies      
I'm a hardcore *nix guy but boy do I love me some C#. Up until now it's been the best language I have worked with but the worst platform due to it's lack of 'nice things' that we just expect from languages/ecosystems these days.

Where 'nice things' is defined as being open-source, having open-source ecosystem of developer tools etc.

This isn't so much the beginning (as good stuff has been happening for a couple of years now) but it's a huge step.

Thankyou Microsoft.

jacquesm 7 days ago 10 replies      
It's funny how Nadella has moved the needle more for developers in 9 months than Ballmer did in the last decade or so, and all that without running around like a madman too. Pretty good. I'll never switch back to MS for what they've done in the past but it is nice to see them try hard to become a nicer player in the software eco-system.

Google and Apple need some other party to keep them sharp, it might as well be MS.

WorldWideWayne 7 days ago 4 replies      
The key points seem to be:

"Available Wednesday, Visual Studio Community 2013 is a free, fully featured edition of Visual Studio including full extensibility."

So, it sounds like this will replace the Express edition and let you install extensions like you can in the Pro version.

"Visual Studio 2015 and .NET 2015: build for any device -Built from the ground up with support for iOS, Android and Windows, Visual Studio 2015 Preview makes it easier for developers to build applications and services for any device, on any platform."

It almost sounds like you're going to be able to run VS2015 on different platforms, but I doubt it. Maybe you'll run the web version of VS2015 to develop from Mac/Linux?

"To further support cross-platform mobile development with .NET, as part of their strategic partnership, Microsoft and Xamarin announced a new streamlined experience for installing Xamarin from Visual Studio, as well as announced the addition of Visual Studio support to its free offering Xamarin Starter Edition available later in the year. "

This is very interesting - .NET is going fully cross platform but they haven't bought Xamarin...are they planning on competing while keeping their frenemies close or something else?

JeremyMorgan 6 days ago 4 replies      
I feel like the last couple years I've been cheerleading for MS and telling people how much they've changed, how open things are becoming, and how awesome the development experience is. It's fallen on deaf ears or met with resistance, but today's announcements are really gonna drive the point home. Developers need to start looking more seriously at C#/.Net.

The Scotts (Hanselman/Guthrie), Miguel De Icaza and so many others have worked tirelessly on this, and we (.Net Developers) owe them a ton of gratitude for helping to make sure this ecosystem doesn't wither on the vine.

danabramov 7 days ago 2 replies      
I know it's silly but I'm tearing up. I grew upwith .NET but neglected it for years because of moving to OS X, iOS and web dev. I played for some time with Xamarin and I'm so happy this is where MS is going. <3 Scott & Miguel, I'm sure they both had a lot to do with it.
_stephan 7 days ago 1 reply      
According to Scott Hanselman they are also open sourcing their new RyuJIT and even the GC. Incredible!




alkonaut 6 days ago 1 reply      
I have been working with .NET for 11 years since 1.0beta (On the same application, i.e. have been continously pushing a massive codebase through every released version of the framework yet!), so to me this so huge. It has felt like I would have to go do Javascript, or go back to java, if I wanted to leave the .NET ecosystem or do something radically different. Not anymore. Feels like not just Windows-based server (asp.net) and desktop (WPF/WinForms) apps are .NET based in the future, but a good chunk of what today is Node.js, Java, Objective-C and so on will be .NET, and hopefully F#, in the future.

If you want a high-level lang runtime with good IDE support, you can just use .NET now. You know, unless you want Ask toolbar.

eyeareque 7 days ago 5 replies      
If you would have shown me this headline 15 years ago I would have thought it was an onion article. Who would have thought they would have come this far?
pjc50 6 days ago 4 replies      
The politics of this are interesting, and IMO related to the decline of the PC as a platform. Suddenly Microsoft is the outsider crying for "openness" and "freedom" while hammering on the gates of the Google/Apple ecosystem.

For Microsoft, it's less bad if everyone switches to an uncontrolled platform than if they switch to a platform locked in by a competitor. The embrace/extend/extinguish logic works the other way when Apple are driving it. (They've done fairly well at killing off Flash, and Silverlight never stood a chance in this environment)

Someone1234 7 days ago 9 replies      
It will be interesting to see how this will work in practice.

C# will port over just fine. But the .Net libraries? System.Windows has little to nothing in it, and right now using things like System.IO.* on Linux and Mac is just asking for trouble.

What are they going to do, hack in System.IO.* Linux support after the fact? Or just add Linux.IO.* which is even more of a hack. In either case you're going to get very messy very fast.

The .Net libraries absolutely could have been designed with cross platform in mind, for example if they put the IO libraries in System.Windows.* and several of the other Windows-specific APIs.

As it stands the .Net framework/libraries are very Windows locked. So much so you'd almost have to scrap them and start over to make it more platform agnostic.

FlyingSnake 7 days ago 4 replies      
This is epic. Peter Thiel was right about creative Monopoly.

The new Microsoft under Satya Nadella has totally changed the direction of Microsoft in just a few months. They had one of the best and rock solid development platforms and research division, and loyal customers. The new Azure cloud (Online + On Premise) along with the opening of .Net will change the playing field.

I'm sure this is a great new for us developers. The change to work on one of the best runtimes, on a platform of our choice and on one of the best programming environments.

Great job Microsoft!

sytelus 6 days ago 3 replies      
Here's Github repo: https://github.com/dotnet. Wow, these things are being released under MIT licence - who would have thought .Net would be more "free-er" than Java?

In other news:

* Visual Studio 2015 and ASP.NET 5 will support gulp, grunt, bower and npm for front end developers.

* OmniSharp is a family of Open Source projects, each with one goal - To enable great .NET development in YOUR editor of choice - http://www.omnisharp.net/.

agarden 7 days ago 0 replies      
According to the announcement on visualstudio.com about the Community Edition, it isn't just for students and open source developers. Basically, only enterprises or companies with more than five developers need to pay.
cwyers 7 days ago 1 reply      
"To further support cross-platform mobile development with .NET, as part of their strategic partnership, Microsoft and Xamarin announced a new streamlined experience for installing Xamarin from Visual Studio, as well as announced the addition of Visual Studio support to its free offering Xamarin Starter Edition available later in the year."

Well that should make a lot of people around here happy.

jordanilchev 6 days ago 0 replies      
http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2014/Nov-12.html here is what Miguel of Xamarin has to say
BloatControl 5 days ago 2 replies      
So here is a 700+ comments thread about MS products without one single occurance of the word that is associated most with anything MS: bloat.

We have a serious problem with generations of so called software engineers growing up with the perception that this kind of code flatulence is ok to be released to the world.

We need more programmers with real knowledge to solve the problems the world has today. These really good guys feel offended by such bloated systems and like minimal, efficient solutions. MS has lost the ability to attract these elite programmers forever and it is today a propagator of an anti-concept of software and software development.

Already too many people are not seeing the obvious. They believe MS produces acceptable operating systems, while anybody with real knowledge can only laugh about these caricatures of computing systems - this is doing so much harm to the whole IT world and therefor to the real world.

Bloat, bloat, bloat. Incredible. We must actively prepare to not let this illness float into the world of elegant, slick and efficient open source products. This is a dangerous bloat attack against the world of free thinking - be prepared to fight the invasion of miriads of dumb zombies! Neanderthalers are still out there, many of them, to fight the evolution of homo sapiens sapiens.

korobool 6 days ago 1 reply      
C# is the most modern, and one of the best languages we have in the market. Linux is the best platform. Hope to see them truly together. Thank you MS guys for the contributing into world industry.
sytelus 6 days ago 1 reply      
I seriously hope this pushes out Java closer to graveyard of forgotten languages. Java had been rotting for a long time without significant progress compared to modern languages including C#. It's only advantage had been that it was cross platform. Now it's owned by lawyers-driven Oracle which is as worse as things can get. Also I really want to stop worry about having my mom install crapware like Ask toolbar and say No to Update Java every single day.
SwellJoe 6 days ago 2 replies      
Microsoft only acts right when they're losing. It took the loss of dominance on the web to begin to produce a standards-compliant, modern browser. Silverlight never really took off because it had such limited OS support. And, now that they know beyond a shadow of a doubt they can't win the mobile device market (and are even losing some of the laptop market to Chromebooks, and Android hybrid devices), they'll grudgingly open up their developer tools and support other platforms.

I am, of course, happy to see it. But, let's not get too excited about what good Open Source citizens Microsoft have become. Let's let their actions going forward determine that.

lawl 6 days ago 2 replies      
Can anyone clarify for me, does this include WPF?I remember I wanted to run a few apps off github on linux and they used WPF, which mono doesn't support.

Otherwise mono seemed to run pretty much everything i threw at it. Can someone with .NET experience clarify for me what this will enable that mono doesn't (yet)?

In other words, if .net will continue to be riddled with windows only API's I'm not really interested.

The article seemed to mostly focus on the server side of things, but I'm not really sure if they can pull many devs over to writing application servers on .net. It will be hard competing against Java there.

tdicola 6 days ago 1 reply      
Great news, but I think people need to realize this is really just Microsoft pledging to merge and support what Mono has already been doing. You won't magically be able to take a WPF app and run it on your Mac. You will however be able to write a server app or maybe simple command line tool that runs on Mac & Linux. It's great news to see Microsoft acknowledging and supporting Mono, but there isn't a magic switch that will flip and everything suddenly works on every platform.
perlgeek 6 days ago 2 replies      
This is huge.

A few months ago, we decided to write a big new software component at $work, basically a service layer that is going to accumulate lots of business logic. We discussed several programming languages, and thought that a statically typed language might be a good fit (we mostly did perl and python so far). C# was dismissed pretty quickly, because .Net was closed source, and Mono had the reputation of being a bit second rate (possibly not well-founded, but also hard to debunk for somebody not in the community).

I mentioned that Roslyn was also open source, but it was hard to convince anybody when the "main" implementation was still closed source (and we're very much an open + linux shop).

If this had come a year earlier, we might have picked C#. Maybe there'll be another project here in a few years...

_stephan 7 days ago 1 reply      
"We are open sourcing the RiyuJit and the .NET GC and making them both cross-platform."

That's incredible!

NicoJuicy 6 days ago 1 reply      
Being a fan of Android and Microsoft for years... I truelly hope that Google would discuss about changing from Java to C#... They don't have to change to c#, but this would be a win for both of them (Microsoft and Google) and a huge loss for Oracle/Apple.
fsloth 6 days ago 1 reply      
Hot toes in springwater! I had figured out that since .Net was proprietary I really should ween myself away from the sweet, sweet F# and learn some clojure but it seems Microsoft has stumped on my plans for self improvement. Immutable by default, algebraic datastructures with pattern matching to boot, great concurrency story and now actually open with permissive licence. Mind. Blown.
plq 6 days ago 1 reply      
I see so much emotion in this thread. Yes, I was there to witness what M$FT (ha! take that Mr. Gates!) did around the dawn of this millenium as well, but we had all felt that the times they were a-changin' when Slashdot retired the Bill-the-evil-Borg image already. It's just Microsoft refused to adapt until now, which e.g. made them miss The Mobile in its entirety.

So, Microsoft is finally adapting. But what are they actually doing? Why did Microsoft finally decided to make .Net cross-platform? What's in it for them?

Look at what's in this shiny new package: They've open-sourced just the core runtime. They are not open-sourcing Visual Studio. Or WPF. Or SQL Server. Or Active Directory. Or Office.

There's one thing the Linux ecosystem is pretty good at: Scaling, both up and down. There are technical reasons for that, but none could possibly be an issue for a software powerhouse the size of Microsoft. There are also commercial reasons for that, most important being: You just can't beat free.

So that's what Microsoft is finally moving against -- Dear startup founder who is afraid that licensing costs will eat him/her alive while his/her "Growth Hacking" strategy is working, dear embedded programmer whose tiny IoT device that just can't cope with the whole Windows mumbo-jumbo, welcome to the Microsoft platform -- You can now safely run your C# on these free platforms as well.

So, Microsoft is finally back in the game. They even seem to be playing nice. But the question in everyone's mind is: For how long?

tasnimreza 6 days ago 0 replies      
It is really a big news, I'm a .Net guy over couple of years. When i started with .Net i thought why i have to buy everything for development ? Now the day have changed and we found Microsoft in the open source community race. Thank you Microsoft.

Visual Studio is awesome, specially debugging when it is in Symbol server debugging.

Though i hate the thing 'Not Responding' and your OS is freeze. When your solution growing with 50+ project, it took 4-5min to open and by any chance if you click the solution it will hang.

elchief 6 days ago 1 reply      
"Oh, shit", said Oracle.
FreakyT 7 days ago 1 reply      
I hope this positively affects projects using outdated versions of Mono, like Unity. I'd love to see them move to a more up-to-date version of .NET, and I wonder if this could enable them to do that.
dschiptsov 6 days ago 0 replies      
First we have to see it as a standard Debian package.

Then we have to look at its memory usage, GC pauses, locking issues.

It is much easier to say than to port correctly a large, very complex code-base to an alien platform. (Mono has been written from scratch, if I recall correctly).

_random_ 7 days ago 3 replies      
2015 is going to be a year of Microsoft.
mnkypete 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is really a great move. C# is an awesome language and deserves to have a future on Mac & Linux. Microsoft is changing for sure.
mnglkhn2 6 days ago 1 reply      
At the moment .NET is making great inroads into all mobile platforms (mainly due to Xamarin's iOS and Android platforms). The one area where Microsoft needs to push more i son the server side: to be able to develop ASP.NET apps and push them to Linux servers. You can do it now but not as smooth and stable as it should be. When this happens, then the circle is complete: you can write both client and server code in C#/F# from within Visual Studio.

Quite a powerful combo at that point!

reitanqild 7 days ago 1 reply      
Now, with a patent promise amd a MIT license, any chance that android could build on .Net going forward?

That would take more than a few non public meetings betweenn G and MS I guess but possibly better than having to tiptoe around Oracle in the long run?

colbyh 6 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft people correct me if I'm wrong - but this feels like a decision Ballmer never would have let pass?

This feels huge to me as someone that has always been on *nix variants but that has been told the .Net environment is amazing as long as you're willing to pay/work on Windows. I still probably won't switch over to C# or F# any time soon but it's good to know I could actually work on a WinMo app if needed.

Animats 6 days ago 2 replies      
Is this an abandonware move? Does it mean .NET is on the way out, and Microsoft's way forward is something else? A year or two ago, Microsoft was talking about the future of application development being Javascript/HTML/CSS.
AndrewDucker 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is massive. I love the C# language, and hopefully this will lead to wider adoption, and usage on more architectures/operating systems.
wilsonfiifi 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is such a bitter sweet announcement for me! I had just made up my mind to stop language hopping and settle/focus on Python and Go for backend development. But now C#, my first love, has come back to whisper sweet nothings in my ear!

Still this is great news and kudos to Microsoft for taking this bold step in the right direction.

skittles 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is going to be a huge boost to ClojureCLR, IronPython, and F#. I think F# especially is going to take off in popularity now that its best VM target is going to run on Linux and Mac.
dkopi 7 days ago 1 reply      
Together with the Visual Studio Community announcement https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8595855, this is great news.

I've always missed the power of visual studio when programming for open source platforms. This can change things a lot.

jot 6 days ago 0 replies      
Could work on this have started before Steve Ballmer left? Maybe he took my 2007 email to him more seriously that his response let on:


untog 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is amazing. But I really, really wish Microsoft would buy Xamarin. I know it sounds counter-productive - they're doing great work on their own - but the subscription costs associated with Xamarin hold it back. MS would have every motivation to release it for free to try to corner the app development market.
codeshaman 6 days ago 7 replies      
Good move, but (too) late.

The move is designed to attract iOS and Android Devs to .NET.

But let's see:

As an iOS developer, I've invested years in learning Objective-C and Cocoa, UIKit, etc. Now I'm starting with Swift.I'm sure a lot of iOS devs feel this way. Besides, if I can't use it from OSX, then I'm out.

Why should I forget everything and learn C#/.NET ? If I want a write-once-run-everywhere thing, then I could go for one of the miriad Javascript or HTML5 cross-platform frameworks or C++ with Qt, JUCE or the likes.

Same thought pattern applies for Android/Java - why would a seasoned Android/Java developer want to learn a whole new framework and programming language ?

Is C#/.NET so much better than Java/Android or ObjC/Swift that it mandates switching to it ?

Someone 6 days ago 1 reply      
Great news, but something else drew my attention: the related stories. I got, among others:

"Microsoft Announces Windows 2000 Certification For Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers"

"Microsoft and Samsung Reveal Windows Powered Pocket PC For GSM/GPRS Networks"

"Microsoft Office 97 Family of Applications Honored With Industry Awards"

"Microsoft Invests in General Magic"

"Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 Beta Download Demand Overwhelming"

Ignoring the time machine aspects, I wonder what made their algorithm come up with these stories. They mention "Microsoft" and "Net", but that is about it.

HelloNurse 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll believe in cross-platform .Net when Microsoft releases Sharepoint for Apache.
giancarlostoro 6 days ago 0 replies      
I really wish they'd make Visual Studio run on other platforms as well... I suppose they'll work on making Office run on Linux next, or at least a full version of Office that's entirely web enabled would be nice too.
blt 6 days ago 0 replies      
Holy shit, now I don't feel like I wasted so much time learning C# and .NET.
omarish 6 days ago 0 replies      
Link to source code: https://github.com/microsoft
archagon 7 days ago 7 replies      
Does this mean that Mono will no longer be necessary for cross-platform C# use?
rjsamson 7 days ago 1 reply      
Wow - I have to say I'm impressed. I wonder how extensive the cross platform support is, and what sort of work has gone into targeting iOS? What does this mean for Xamarin and Mono?
none_for_me_thx 6 days ago 0 replies      
simonmales 7 days ago 5 replies      
No mention of which license they are using?
f055 7 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, writing in C# for Mac, that's almost like heaven.
tomp 7 days ago 6 replies      
I want to believe this, but I just don't. .NET is so much more than just the core libraries. There will be a long time until it's on the same level as Java. I hope Microsoft proves me wrong, of course (C# is an awesome language, F# is not bad either), but I will believe this when I see a distribution of Visual Studio running both on Mac/Linux and on Windows (i.e. the same executable, same as Java).
Fede_V 6 days ago 1 reply      
I know this won't convince many hardcore Unix people who are used to the command line, but Visual Studio is still an absolutely incredible piece of software, and I really, really wish I could run it under Linux.

Even if you are a command line ninja, amazing autocompletion, magical debugging with inspection are pretty wonderful.

curveship 6 days ago 1 reply      
I started as an open source programmer. Then I got a job as a .NET programmer. Now I'm an open source programmer again.

Feels good :)

claystu 6 days ago 0 replies      
Finally! One of the major players has finally decided to really push cross-platform.

Looks like it's time to finally learn F#

jayvanguard 6 days ago 0 replies      
Never in Microsoft's history have they ever followed through on a promise of multi-platform support for their infrastructure. They've tried multiple times but they always end up bailing on it or half-assing it to death.

I wouldn't believe them this time either.

codegeek 7 days ago 0 replies      
Loving this. Recently started working on a project with my brother who loves MS .NET stack and I have no experience in it. I was really skeptic due to the reputation MS has of being closed source and license heavy. I could not have chosen a better time hopefully!!
jnem 6 days ago 1 reply      
This completely caught me by suprise. Will .NET see a comeback now? Or is it too little too late? In any event, this is a huge move for Microsoft who has historically avoided open source(ive always thought of yhem as the anti-open-source company).
jpetersonmn 5 days ago 0 replies      
Is there going to be a Visual Studio for the mac? I write a lot of vb.net utilities in Windows for my day job. It would be awesome if I could work on that stuff natively on my MacBook.
radioact1ve 7 days ago 0 replies      
Faith in C# restored. Amazing.
presty 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty cool. Java (the platform) is finally getting a much needed competitor and alternative. And a VM that was built from scratch to support multiple languages.

The next decade will be interesting.

talltofu 7 days ago 2 replies      
What happens to Xamarin business model now?
diltonm 6 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't think I'd ever see this happen. Java is my bread and butter but this could be a game changer.

Edit: It probably won't be for me but just saying who knows, some developers might prefer C# over Java on Linux and Mac. Too bad Microsoft is 13 years to late for me on this. They had my interest when I was beta testing Visual Studio .NET 2002 but by 2005 when I saw how far Java had come and got a taste of the power and Cadillac nature of Eclipse; it would be tough to turn back now.

jxm262 6 days ago 1 reply      

     Developers can get started with Visual Studio Community 2013 here.
<<link is not working>>http://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/products/visual-studio-com...

I think they meant here?http://www.visualstudio.com/news/vs2013-community-vs

Rapzid 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic! I've been waiting for the .net train to pull all the way into the OSS station(as a Linux engineer) :) I wonder if .Net native will also be open sourced.
buf 7 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent job, Microsoft.
jangid 6 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft had designed .NET to be independent of platforms. But the strategy advices they got were mostly wrong; so they did not release it for other platforms. Open Source alternatives existed (Mono) but due to unavailability of committed support enterprises did not endorse it. Now there is very little hope that the *NIX users will now use .NET languages.

It was a great platform though. I was impressed by the it when I first went to Teched in year 2002.

NicoJuicy 6 days ago 1 reply      
Considering Scott is probably watching this.. What do you think about the near future about running vNext projects on a simple Raspberry Pi (= low-end configurations).
logn 6 days ago 0 replies      
Neat. Maybe eventually they'll open source the OS too, but .NET is probably more significant.

I wanted some more specifics regarding licenses and found this page helpful: http://www.dotnetfoundation.org/projects

Hopefully one day they'll support the entire Java runtime so that I can deploy Java apps to the JRE or .NET.

joelthelion 6 days ago 2 replies      
This is really big news. I'm not sure why Microsoft is doing it, though? Seems like a great way to completely kill Windows in the server market.
sauere 7 days ago 0 replies      
stplsd 6 days ago 0 replies      
So that does that means for linux developers like me, who want to start dabble in .NET ecosystem. Where MONO stand in this?
AdventureJason 6 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft's CVP Soma Somasegar will be answering questions about today's announcements on TechCrunch article -- in comments -- at 2:30pm Eastern today.


AdventureJason 6 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft's CVP Soma Somasegar will be answering questions about today's announcements on TechCrunch article -- in comments -- at 2:30pm Eastern today.


MrBra 6 days ago 2 replies      
.NET newbie here. Could someone explain me if thanks to this it is currently possible to write GUI multiplatform apps?
silveira 7 days ago 3 replies      
Any guarantees about patents? Can using and extending .Net will cause in the future claims of software patents violations?
tdsamardzhiev 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm glad the new CEO isn't stuck in the 1980s! Props to Microsoft. I hope it isn't too late for them.
aespinoza 6 days ago 0 replies      
These are different articles, they might related to the same news, but very different takes. This one comes from the founder of Mono.
zmmmmm 6 days ago 0 replies      
For a long time I have held off on embracing .NET even though it offers certain advantages over the JVM ecosystem because it was clearly a Windows-first, everything else second ecosystem. If this changes that then I might for the first time in a long time take a second look at it.
Illniyar 6 days ago 0 replies      
What happens to mono now?

Also its great to have an engineer at the helm of microsoft again.

delhanty 6 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know whether the full-server side .NET stack open sourcing includes C++/CLI?

My experience has been that .NET interop with C++ code bases using C++/CLI was much smoother than with PInvoke. It would be if that were cross-platform too.

bkeroack 6 days ago 1 reply      
Next up (hopefully): Windows core subsystems (basically everything minus the GUI shell, a la Darwin)
scotty79 6 days ago 1 reply      
They faked being kind of opensource so many times that I'll believe it when I'll see it.
MagicWishMonkey 6 days ago 3 replies      
Does anyone know if this means an OSX/Linux version of Visual Studio might one day be possible?
KedarMhaswade 6 days ago 0 replies      
In general, open sourcing is helpful decision (it's also a practical business decision in several cases)! And the possibility of running C# on *nix really creates opportunities in a way that contributors grow. It's a win-win.
MangoDiesel 7 days ago 0 replies      
It will be interesting to see how this works out, and how many resources are put behind it. If it does allow developers to choose to work on Linux/Mac for .NET development, it will put a lot of pressure on Windows to create a great product.
rocky1138 6 days ago 1 reply      
All this reads like great stuff, and as a developer I applaud the work. But, I haven't read anywhere how they intend to make money off this stuff. How does going open source and cross-platform make them money?
Tiktaalik 6 days ago 1 reply      
Potentially great news for Unity game developers. Unity uses an ancient version of Mono that doesn't support all sorts of sensible things. Maybe now some future version of Unity will have a more cutting edge .NET library.
venomsnake 7 days ago 1 reply      
I welcome it. And still think it is 10 years too late. 2.0 was a blast and provided higher quality of life and speed of contemporary JAVA. If they had made it multiplatform back then the world would have been different.
datashovel 6 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations Microsoft. Welcome to 2014! :) Although I will say, since it took so long I would still expect the community to be somewhat skeptical / cynical, and / or slow to adopt / buy in.
anta40 6 days ago 1 reply      
"the full server-side .NET stack and expanding .NET to run on the Linux and Mac OS platforms"

so that means I can write GUI-based desktop apps for Linux in C#, right?

cool :D

alediaferia 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is a huge amount of tech resource. Don't know if it will actually bring to something working on the other platforms, but for sure it will help projects like Mono which deserved a little help.
programminggeek 7 days ago 0 replies      
This makes a lot of sense for Microsoft. It doesn't in any way cheapen or lessen the .NET business at all, if anything more things will be built on .NET which will lead to higher sales of things like Azure, which for a lot of non .NET devs has almost 0 mindshare.

I've never heard a Ruby or PHP developer list Azure as a potential deploy target. That is a real problem for Microsoft, even though Azure can do a lot of the same things AWS or Google's cloud does.

Smart move Microsoft.

kelvin0 6 days ago 1 reply      
Read the article, looking for the download link to the open sourced code. Is is bundled with the VS2015 preview (4.4GB iso)? If not, were and how can we access the code?
laveur 6 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know if this builds for anything but Windows yet?
Immortalin 6 days ago 0 replies      
Good strategy Microsoft!
hrasyid 6 days ago 0 replies      
Good news :)

For Microsoft though, doesn't this mean (ironically) loss of business, because many people will no longer have a reason to run Windows?

tiedemann 6 days ago 0 replies      
Next step is to change all "\" to "/" and make drive letters optional to enable a better cross-platform experience :)
jacquesm 6 days ago 1 reply      
MrBra 6 days ago 0 replies      
It would be a great moment to restart the Iron Ruby project http://ironruby.net/
sciurus 6 days ago 0 replies      
edpichler 6 days ago 0 replies      
Good to us, and good to Microsoft.

Great news, but this platform should be born as Open Source since the beginning. Anyway, before late than never.

chenster 6 days ago 1 reply      
what does iOS developer get out of it? What's the implications for iOS & Mac developers? It would be nice that I can finally develop iOS and Mac apps using C# and .NET coming from a seasoned .NET developers to iOS developer. But doesn't Mono can just do that already? Besides Apple will never approve apps not written in Swift or Object-C (exclude PhoneGap).
Slackwise 7 days ago 1 reply      
If only this included a revival of IronRuby.

And, moonshot, but giving IronRuby/IronPython as much prominence as PowerShell.

dda 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is is the clear yet when Microsoft will deliver .NET for Linux?
penguindev 6 days ago 0 replies      
So when are they going to stop suing android for having the nerve to try to interoperate with their shit FAT filesystem?
michaelvkpdx 6 days ago 2 replies      
Oregon legalized marijuana on Tuesday. Microsoft open sources .NET today. They say miracles come in 3. What's next?
SonicSoul 6 days ago 0 replies      
The dream of writing c# on a mac without having to fire up a VM is so so close :))

good work MS!

anonyfox 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great. Now release visual studio "native" for OS X and I'd have a look at it. Having to run an emulated windows just to fiddle around in a fairly heavyweight IDE sucks.

As nice as C#/F# is, the real fun comes from the powerful IDE. And I just don't do windows anymore, except for occasional gaming (and this only until I finally buy the new retina iMac and throw the last PC at home away).

bonsai80 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's like slashdot on april fools day!
icc97 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is a good move by Microsoft, but from what I can tell this is only happening because Microsoft no longer has its dominant position.

Now that Microsoft has proper competition from Apple and Google it has to start playing nicer.

It would have been much more benevolent of them if they were still the monopoly power of 20 years ago.

Yay for competition.

enlightenedfool 6 days ago 0 replies      
Does nvidia NSight now work with VS community edition? They say VS community is fully extensible edition.
foolinaround 6 days ago 0 replies      
How does this impact the future growth and adoption of mono as an alternative open-source platform?
bmurphy1976 7 days ago 1 reply      
I just want to add my $.02. It's about fucking time. They should have done this 15 years ago.
elliotec 6 days ago 1 reply      
Finally. Do you think this will significantly hurt the virtual machine industry?
FrankenPC 5 days ago 0 replies      
Does this mean WPF will be made available on Linux and Mac desktops?
jitbit 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm starting to like MS without Ballmer (no offence Steve)
yohanatan 6 days ago 0 replies      
I see this as a last ditch attempt by Microsoft to stay semi-relevant. Of course this was the great promise of .NET to begin with, but it seems rather late to exercise the option now (some 15 years or so after .NET was created)-- a very desperate move by a dying empire.
pjmlp 6 days ago 0 replies      
Also as part of the announcement clang will get some Visual Studio love!
vastinfest 7 days ago 0 replies      
Someone somewhere is spinning at mach 1 in his grave..
noobermin 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm curious what this means for mono, then.
SEJeff 7 days ago 2 replies      
I do wonder what this means for the mono project
yarrel 6 days ago 0 replies      
Will this wipe out Mono?

Please say yes.

biafra 6 days ago 0 replies      
The way I see it, I still need a Windows machine to run VS. I will consider their platform when I can develop for it on MacOSX.
skykooler 7 days ago 3 replies      
What does this mean for ReactOS?
derengel 6 days ago 2 replies      
If the support for osx and linux depends on xamarin, the future of .NET on those platforms is very dubious.
jbverschoor 6 days ago 0 replies      
But it was already opensource more than 10 years ago.I remember compiling the ms .NET runtime on FreeBSD.
cyber1 6 days ago 0 replies      

Thankyou Microsoft.

api 6 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. The new Microsoft indeed.

If there are any MS people in this thread: I would pay for Visual Studio for Mac and Linux if I could also use its GUI designers on those platforms. If I could write a GUI front-end in C# and design it with VS and ship it for Windows, Mac, Linux, and possibly others, then I'd definitely pay money for that.

Right now we've got Qt, Java, and possibly HTML5+node-webkit for that, and none of those are anywhere near as good as MS's GUI tooling and IDE.

fit2rule 6 days ago 1 reply      
This demonstrates the importance of documentation in the framework wars. What could Microsoft possibly gain from open-sourcing .NET? They already have a few thousand great developers working on their jeweled prize, designed to lure developers to the brand as resolutely, and immutably, as possible.

.NET going open source is Microsoft admitting that, despite its best efforts, developers still want to know whats going on behind the curtain, whether the mirror really works, and just what kind of smoke is being blown up their ass in the effort to capture their minds and bind them to the brand.

sorpaas 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you Microsoft!
maerF0x0 6 days ago 0 replies      
Hacker news karma jackpot! ~200 karma to 1800 in one link.
bosky101 6 days ago 1 reply      

    '...show me the code.'

jbob2000 6 days ago 3 replies      
aka "We're actually facing competition from open source now, so we're going to listen to what people have been saying for years. Love us?"
FiveTimesTheFun 6 days ago 0 replies      
What a day :)
tn13 6 days ago 0 replies      
I am not so much enthu about the open source part but more fascinated by the fact that it is cross platform.
notastartup 6 days ago 0 replies      
I guess it's now easier to create cross platform desktop apps using Visual Studio 2015? Does this mean I can finally make iOS apps on Windows? I'm downloading the 2015 preview to try it out.
everydaypanos 6 days ago 0 replies      
iamjustasking 6 days ago 0 replies      
iamjustasking 6 days ago 1 reply      
iamjustasking 6 days ago 0 replies      
aarongray 6 days ago 0 replies      
A couple decades late to the party, but surprising nonetheless. ^_^
Jacky800 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is a very bad news. .NET and Microsoft must die after apppl.
anthony_barker 6 days ago 0 replies      
MSFT Pls fix ODF before you claim to be open!


iamjustasking 6 days ago 0 replies      
Self advertising by ms... What a surprise!
robodale 6 days ago 0 replies      
Well, fuck me and call me Shirley...this is awesome news.
gjvc 7 days ago 0 replies      

True to form, the links to github are broken.

grandalf 6 days ago 1 reply      
After recently using Microsoft's online tools (OWA, web-based office, etc.) and the IOS version of OWA, I'm shocked at how bad the UX has become.

Recently, there was a bug that makes the IOS OWS client replace its standard icons with emoji. It's been over 90 days and the bug is still not fixed.

There have recently been a lot of bold decisions at Microsoft. If anything can turn around a dying company it's this kind of approach.

fapjacks 7 days ago 1 reply      
Too little, too late. At the end of the day, you're still being forced to pay a company to use their shitty software. Once you lose developers, you lose the race.
tosseraccount 7 days ago 2 replies      
I've reverted to WIN32 because users can run a single file, bare bones EXE without the Permission Police blocking you.

Too often users aren't allowed to install programs.A simple program that can run on anything since XP is a good solution around Microsoft's sandbox strategy and DLL hell and install programs are big problems.

With wine you can even run your simple EXE on Linux and Mac.Native x86 means you run faster than these virtual machine based solutions.

Launching in 2015: A Certificate Authority to Encrypt the Entire Web
1889 points by mariusz79  1 day ago   432 comments top 53
digitalsushi 1 day ago 14 replies      
This certificate industry has been such a racket. It's not even tacit that there are two completely separate issues that certificates and encryption solve. They get conflated and non technical users rightly get confused about which thing is trying to solve a problem they aren't sure why they have.

The certificate authorities are quite in love that the self-signed certificate errors are turning redder, bolder, and bigger. A self signed certificate warning means "Warning! The admin on the site you're connecting to wants this conversation to be private but it hasn't been proven that he has 200 bucks for us to say he's cool".

But so what if he's cool? Yeah I like my banking website to be "cool" but for 200 bucks I can be just as "cool". A few years back the browsers started putting extra bling on the URL bar if the coolness factor was high enough - if a bank pays 10,000 bucks for a really cool verification, they get a giant green pulsating URL badge. And they should, that means someone had to fax over vials of blood with the governor's seal that it's a legitimate institute in that state or province. But my little 200 dollar, not pulsating but still green certificate means "yeah digitalsushi definitely had 200 bucks and a fax machine, or at least was hostmaster@digitalsushi.com for damned sure".

And that is good enough for users. No errors? It's legit.

What's the difference between me coughing up 200 bucks to make that URL bar green, and then bright red with klaxons cause I didn't cough up the 200 bucks to be sure I am the owner of a personal domain? Like I said, a racket. The certificate authorities love causing a panic. But don't tell me users are any safer just 'cause I had 200 bucks. They're not.

The cert is just for warm and fuzzies. The encryption is to keep snoops out. If I made a browser, I would have 200 dollar "hostmaster" verification be some orange, cautious URL bar - "this person has a site that we have verified to the laziest extent possible without getting sued for not even doing anything at all". But then I probably wouldn't be getting any tips in my jar from the CAs at the end of the day.

Karunamon 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is awesome! It looks like what CACert.org set out to be, except this time instead of developing the CA first and then seeking certification (which has been a problem due to the insanely expensive audit process), but the EFF got the vendors on board first and then started doing the nuts and bolts.

This is huge if it takes off. The CA PKI will no longer be a scam anymore!!

I'd trust the EFF/Mozilla over a random for profit "security corporation" like VeriSign any day of the week and twice on Sunday to be good stewards of the infrastructure.

lambada 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Looking at the spec [0] I'm concerned about the section on 'Recovery Tokens'.

"A recovery token is a fallback authentication mechanism. In the event that a client loses all other state, including authorized key pairs and key pairs bound to certificates, the client can use the recovery token to prove that it was previously authorized for the identifier in question.

This mechanism is necessary because once an ACME server has issued an Authorization Key for a given identifier, that identifier enters a higher-security state, at least with respect the ACME server. That state exists to protect against attacks such as DNS hijacking and router compromise which tend to inherently defeat all forms of Domain Validation. So once a domain has begun using ACME, new DV-only authorization will not be performed without proof of continuity via possession of an Authorized Private Key or potentially a Subject Private Key for that domain."

Does that mean, if for instance, someone used an ACME server to issue a certificate for that domain in the past, but then the domain registration expired, and someone else legitimately bought the domain later, they would be unable to use that ACME server for issuing an SSL certificate?

[0] https://github.com/letsencrypt/acme-spec/blob/master/draft-b...

Animats 21 hours ago 9 replies      
The EFF has a bad track record in this area. The last time they tried something to identify web sites, it was TRUSTe, a nonprofit set up by the EFF and headed by EFF's director. Then TRUSTe was spun off as a for-profit private company, reduced their standards, stopped publishing enforcement actions, and became a scam operation. The Federal Trade Commission just fined them: "TRUSTe Settles FTC Charges it Deceived Consumers Through Its Privacy Seal Program Company Failed to Conduct Annual Recertifications, Facilitated Misrepresentation as Non-Profit" (http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/11/truste...) So an EFF-based scheme for a new trusted nonprofit has to be viewed sceptically.

This new SSL scheme is mostly security theater. There's no particular reason to encrypt traffic to most web pages. Anyone with access to the connection can tell what site you're talking to. If it's public static content, what is SSL protecting? Unless there's a login mechanism and non-public pages, SSL isn't protecting much.

The downside of SSL everywhere is weak SSL everywhere. Cloudflare sells security theater encryption now. All their offerings involve Cloudflare acting as a man-in-the-middle, with everything decrypted at Cloudflare. (Cloudflare's CEO is fighting interception demands in court and in the press, which indicates they get such requests. Cloudflare is honest about what they're doing; the certificates they use say "Cloudflare, Inc.", so they identify themselves as a man-in-the-middle. They're not bad guys.)

If you try to encrypt everything, the high-volume cacheable stuff that doesn't need security but does need a big content delivery network (think Flickr) has to be encrypted. So the content-delivery network needs to impersonate the end site and becomes a point of attack. There are known attacks on CDNs; anybody using multi-domain SSL certs with unrelated domains (36,000 Cloudflare sites alone) is vulnerable if any site on the cert can be broken into. If the site's logins go through the same mechanism, security is weaker than if only the important pages were encrypted.

You're better off having a small secure site like "secure.example.com" for checkout and payment, preferably with an Extended Validation SSL certificate, a unique IP address, and a dedicated server. There's no reason to encrypt your public product catalog pages. Leave them on "example.com" unencrypted.

lowglow 1 day ago 7 replies      
Free CA? This is cool. Why this wasn't done a long time ago is beyond me. (Also please support wildcard certs)

An interesting thing happened at a meet-up at Square last year. Someone from google's security team came out and demonstrated what google does to notify a user that a page has been compromised or is a known malicious attack site.

During the presentation she was chatting about how people don't really pay attention to the certificate problems a site has, and how they were trying to change that through alerts/notifications.

After which someone asked that if google cared so much about security why didn't they just become a CA and sign certs for everyone. She didn't answer the question, so I'm not sure if that means they don't want to, or they are planning to.

What privacy concerns should we have if someone like goog were to sign the certs? What happens if a CA is compromised?

teamhappy 23 hours ago 2 replies      
I couldn't be happier about the news, the EFF and Mozilla always had a special place in my heart. However, the fact that we have to wait for our free certificates until the accompanying command line tool is ready for prime time seems unnecessary. Another thing I'm interested in is whether they provide advanced features like wildcard certificates. This is usually the kind of thing CA's charge somewhat significant amounts of money for.
mangeletti 1 day ago 5 replies      
So, one CA to rule then all?

There's a scenario (simplified for illustration, but entirely possible) that's normally not a huge risk because there are many CAs, and they are private, for-profit companies that have an economic incentive to protect you and your certificate's ability to assure end users that a conversation's privacy won't be compromised.

1) browser requests site via SSL

2) MITM says, "let's chat - here's my cert"

3) browser asks, "is this cert legit for this domain?"

4) MITM says, "yes, CA gave us this, because of FISA, to give to you as proof"

5) browser says, "ok, let's chat"

I'm not trying to spread FUD, but if you're NSA and you've been asking CAs for their master keys for years, doesn't a single CA sound great (free and easy == market consolidation), and doesn't EFF seem like the perfect vector for a Trojan horse like this, given its popularity and trust among hacker types gained in recent years?

overshard 1 day ago 5 replies      
The "How It Works" page, https://letsencrypt.org/howitworks/, has me a bit worried. Anytime I see a __magic__ solution that has you running a single command to solve all your problems I immediately become suspicious at how much thought went into the actual issue.

If I'm running a single web app on a single Ubuntu server using Apache then I'm set! If I'm running multiple web apps across multiple servers using a load balancer, nginx on FreeBSD then...

All the same I'm really looking forward to this coming out, it can be nothing but good that all of these companies are backing this new solution and I'm sure it'll expand and handle these issues as long as a good team is behind it.

byuu 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Here's my current issue with moving to TLS: library support.

I do a lot of custom stuff and want to run my own server. I can set up and run the server in maybe 50-100 lines of code, and it works great.

I know, I should conform and use Apache/nginx/OpenSSL like everyone else. Because they're so much more secure, right? By using professional code like the aforementioned, you won't get exposed to exploits like Heartbleed, Shellshock, etc.

But me, being the stubborn one I am, I want to just code up a site. I can open up a socket, parse a few text lines, and voila. Web server. Now I want to add TLS and what are my options?

OpenSSL, crazy API, issues like Heartbleed.

libtls from LibreSSL, amazing API, not packaged for anything but OpenBSD yet. Little to no real world testing.

Mozilla NSS or GnuTLS, awful APIs, everyone seems to recommend against them.

Obscure software I've never heard of: PolarSSL, MatrixSSL. May be good, but I'm uneasy with it since I don't know anything about them. And I have to hope they play nicely with all my environments (Clang on OS X, Visual C++ on Windows, GCC on Linux and BSD) and package managers.

Write my own. Hahah. Hahahahahahahahah. Yeah. All I have to do is implement AES, Camellia, DES, RC4, RC5, Triple DES, XTEA, Blowfish, MD5, MD2, MD4, SHA-1, SHA-2, RSA, Diffie-Hellman key exchange, Elliptic curve cryptography (ECC), Elliptic curve DiffieHellman (ECDH), Elliptic Curve DSA (ECDSA); and all with absolutely no errors (and this is critical!), and I'm good to go!

I'm not saying encryption should be a breeze, but come on. I want this in <socket.h> and available anywhere. I want to be able to ask for socket(AF_INET, SOCK_STREAMTLS, 0), call setsockcert(certdata, certsize) and be ready to go.

Everything we do in computer science is always about raising the bar in terms of complexity. Writing software requires larger and larger teams, and increasingly there's the attitude that "you can't possibly do that yourself, so don't even try." It's in writing operating systems, writing device drivers, writing web browsers, writing crypto software, etc.

I didn't get into programming to glue other people's code together. I want to learn how things work and write them myself. For once in this world, I'd love it if we could work on reducing complexity instead of adding to it.

xxdesmus 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Who will handle abuse complaints and revocations of known bad actors? I'd be curious to see who's abuse department will be handling those issues.
tatterdemalion 1 day ago 1 reply      
This seems like a really great step toward an HTTPS web. It will be an immediately deployable solution that can hopefully TLS encryption normal and expected.

However, it doesn't do anything about the very serious problems with the CA system, which is fundamentally unsound because it requires trust and end users do not meaningfully have the authority to revoke that trust. And there's a bigger problem: if EFF's CA becomes the standard CA, there is now another single point of failure for a huge portion of the web. While I personally have a strong faith in the EFF, in the long term I shouldn't have to.

vbezhenar 23 hours ago 1 reply      
We have DNS system in place which should be enough to establish trust between browser and SSL public key. E.g. site could store self-signed certificate fingerprint in the DNS record and browser should be fine with that. If DNS system is spoofed, user will be in bad place anyway so DNS system must be secured in any case.
chmike 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Wouldn't this result in putting all the eggs in a single basket ?

Beside, as an European, I'm not so excited that such initiative is under control of American Law. I suspect that American interests will prevail.

mkhpalm 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't want to be a full-fledged sponsor but I'd love to see a donate function to their site. Once this is released if the CA is trusted by all the major browsers I am more than willing to shift all the money we spend in certs from all these other "authorities" to something constructive like this.
mike-cardwell 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Glad I don't work for a CA right now.
justcommenting 22 hours ago 1 reply      
from the ACME spec, it looks like proof of ownership is provided via[0]:

>Put a CA-provided challenge at a specific place on the web server


> Put a CA-provided challenge at a DNS location corresponding to the target domain.

Since the server will presumably be plaintext at that point and DNS is UDP, couldn't an attacker like NSA just mitm the proof-of-site-ownership functionality of lets-encrypt to capture ownership at TOFU and then silently re-use it, e.g. via Akamai's infrastructure?

[0] https://github.com/letsencrypt/acme-spec/blob/master/draft-b...

fsiefken 1 day ago 2 replies      
Will these certificates work with Internet Explorer and Chrome?
ademarre 22 hours ago 1 reply      
This is great news! I'd also like to see a push for technologies like DANE (and necessarily DNSSEC) which address the flawed CA trust model.

While we're at it, let's get a non-profit domain registrar going.

fixermark 19 hours ago 0 replies      
"With a launch scheduled for summer 2015, the Lets Encrypt CA will automatically issue and manage free certificates for any website that needs them."


So we're replacing owning people by snooping on their HTTP traffic with owning people by directing them to fake websites digitally signed by "m1crosoft.com"?

... actually, yes, that is kind of an improvement.

Aardwolf 1 day ago 8 replies      
My website only contains publically available stuff for people to read.

Is there any reason why I would want to use https for this use case?

Or what does "entire web" mean?

tmmm 1 day ago 3 replies      
Won't people need to have LetsEncrypt CA certificate installed on their computers to not get that red SSL incorrect certificate thing? Other than that, this is awesome.
balabaster 23 hours ago 2 replies      
How does a CA that's formed by a conglomerate of U.S. companies (under the jurisdiction of the NSA) make us any safer than we are currently? It doesn't. The chain of trust chains up all the way to a U.S. company, which can be coerced into giving up the certificate and compromising the security of the entire chain. I'm on the side of the EFF trying to encrypt the web, but this is not the solution.
sschueller 1 day ago 6 replies      
A little vague on details.

Apache only or also Nginx?

Who is the CA?

No way I am running something like this on a production machine.

I like the idea but I would rather have the client just output the certificate and key in a dir so I can put the files where I need them and I can configure the changes to my webserver.

Also this does not solve the issue of a CA issuing certificates for your domain and doing MITM.

xs 23 hours ago 0 replies      
While this is nice and I'm happy to see such a product coming, I still don't see a free TLS solution for my smaller projects. Heroku will still charge me $20/mo for TLS even if I have my certificate. Cloudflare will also want to charge me to inspect TLS. I could drop both and get a Linode but then that costs too and is a pain to setup a server myself.
steven2012 22 hours ago 1 reply      
This is an awesome idea. But I thought the whole idea of a certificate authority is so that we can trust that the CA has vetted the person/site that they have given the certificate to. If all they do is issue certs for free, all we get is encryption, but no identity verification.
jfindley 22 hours ago 3 replies      
It would be nice to have support for ECDSA certificates. I've not found a CA yet who'll provide one of these, despite the fact that many clients to already support them. Unfortunately, after a brief look through client.py I can't see any support for this.Is there any good way of filing an RFE or contributing a patch?

ECDSA certs are much cheaper to decrypt, and there's still some places (especially mobile) where TLS is a noticeable overhead - it'd be great to have a CA that provides them.

cm2187 16 hours ago 1 reply      
That's a great idea and I'm a big fan of the EFF. But what browser support will this have? Even if all browser on all platforms add this to their root certificates, how many years will it take before even half of the devices in use support it (remember the number of people still using windows XP!)
mike-cardwell 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm hoping that one day soon, I'll be able to remove this line from my nginx config:

  ssl_certificate /path/to/file.crt;
My web server will notice that I want SSL, but haven't specified a path to a cert. It will then go off and generate one and get it signed automatically using an API like the one being discussed. It will also handle renewing automatically when the time comes.

jpetersonmn 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I just setup a ssl certificate on my website for the first time and it only took like 10 minutes all together. I don't get any warnings from any browsers and it was only. $10
dutchbrit 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Wondering how they're going to cover the costs of being a CA.
silvenga 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Whatever happened to http://www.cacert.org/?
spindritf 23 hours ago 0 replies      
ACME sounds great. Copying codes from emails is suboptimal at best. Free certificate from command line and free revocation from the same client sound even better.

I just don't know about the automatic configuration tool. Like webpanels for managing a server, it has never worked for me.

JoshTheGeek 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many of the cheap web hosts will impelent this. I think the increased hosting cost on top of the certificate itself also discourages people from using TLS. Wishful thinking, perhaps...
darka 21 hours ago 1 reply      
How does this compare to StartSSL?
nodata 20 hours ago 0 replies      
And all because people like YOU donated :)

Thanks :)

btw if you want to donate too, here is the link: https://supporters.eff.org/donate

iancarroll 1 day ago 1 reply      
Very interesting, it looks like they're working with IdenTrust on this. I wonder if it supports wildcard certs.

Like StartCom selling Class 2/3, running a CA is very expensive and I wonder how they plan on recouping the fees for this.

king_magic 22 hours ago 2 replies      
It's an interesting idea, I'm just not clear on how it works (even when looking at the "How it works" section) - e.g., how do I integrate this with... say, nginx?
tacojuan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, I had a goofy idea a few months ago that one day we could have some sort of non-profit/charity that just runs a free, as in beer and freedom, "common good" CA.

Looks neat.

andrewbarba 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This news put a huge grin on my face. Let's hope Heroku drops that ridiculous $20 charge for SSL endpoint as well.
mattste 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm so excited for this. I know both the people working on the team from the University of Michigan, and both are extremely smart people passionate about web encryption.
eyeareque 23 hours ago 2 replies      
This is great news, but I am wondering how they will handle revoking certificates. For example: Do we really want malware sites popping up with valid Ssl certificates?
neals 1 day ago 0 replies      
Finally! Man, is getting and managing certificates a pain in the *ss for our small shop that does a great number of small websites.
general_failure 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope they do wildcard certs as well.
higherpurpose 19 hours ago 2 replies      
> Let's Encrypt will be overseen by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG), a California public benefit corporation. ISRG will work with Mozilla, Cisco Systems Inc., Akamai, EFF, and others to build the much-needed infrastructure for the project and the 2015 launch

What's Cisco's role in this? I'm quite worried about that. It has been reported multiple times that Cisco's routers have NSA backdoors in them, from multiple angles (from TAO intercepting the routers to law enforcement having access to "legal intercept" in them).

So I hope they are not securing their certificates with Cisco's routers...

itistoday2 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Kudos to the EFF for making an easy-to-use tool to generate TLS certs!

Kudos also for creating the second CA to issue free certificates (the first being StartSSL).

The next step needs to be to man-in-the-middle (MITM) proof these certs. We still have to address that problem. We'll be talking about how the blockchain can be used to solve this problem tonight at the SF Bitcoin Meetup, if that interests you, you're welcome to come:


A primer can be found here: https://vimeo.com/100433057

peterwwillis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Two things:

1. I really hope this is hosted in a non-FVEY territory.

2. Why can't we set a date (say, 5 years?) when all browsers default to https, or some other encrypted protocol, and force you to type "http://" to access old, unencrypted servers?

bmahsh 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi. This such an amazing project to work on. Who started this? Who came up with this idea?
zobzu 23 hours ago 3 replies      
Whos auditing the ca?
ilaksh 22 hours ago 1 reply      
So this means that GoDaddy, Namecheap, Verisign and other sellers/resellers of SSL certificates will need to lower their prices soon, right? Because in a short time many websites won't need to purchase one since they can get it free.

Also, have they built this system with a completely scalable distributed architecture? For it to be practical it needs to be performant.

Also, does the NSA have access to the core of this system?

sbierwagen 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Uh oh, this looks like it kills sslmate.com

Sorry agwa.

mangeletti 23 hours ago 1 reply      
One possible solution is a BitCoin-like block chain of certificate proof, so that a website's certificate can be verified against the domain without a central authority.
jgrahamc 1 day ago 4 replies      
Can wait until summer 2015 for a free cert? CloudFlare offers Universal SSL: https://www.cloudflare.com/ssl
Letter to Amazon Board from Fired Ad Exec
1255 points by kvargs  6 days ago   558 comments top 83
DevX101 6 days ago 25 replies      
Looks like Kivin was surprised when HR told his manager that he requested to be transferred. His manager then used this information against him, by putting him into a 'performance improvement program' which blocks transfers to any other group for some period of time.

Let me let Kivin and any one else working for a company in on a little secret. HR is not your friend. HR is not there to protect you and your career. HR is there to protect the company AGAINST you.

To the extent that your goals and the company's do not conflict, HR can be helpful. (Need some help with your health insurance or your 401k? HR is awesome!)

But if you're going to HR about an issue that could be damaging to the company, HR will gladly listen to you sharing confidential information while quietly working with the leadership to build a case against you or protect themselves. If you're caught in a situation that could potentially lead to a legal dispute with the company (serious conflict with mgmt as seen here, discrimination, etc), make sure you document EVERYTHING, put as much in writing/email as possible and tread carefully before sharing too much info with HR. They won't be in your corner when shit hits the fan.

tomp 6 days ago 10 replies      
Interesting and pretty damning. Some key excerpts:

> Amazon gave me their nal offer: 4 weeks of severance for 18 months of adhering to the broad non-compete that would not allow me to earn a living in my eld, and further explained that if I didn't accept their nal offer, Amazon would sue me for tens of thousands of dollars in relocation expenses.

Employee complained, was fired, Amazon insists s/he can't work for another 1 1/2 years (I know that's legal in the US, but it's still asshole-ish behaviour).

> What we found was that there were tens of thousands of Kindle e-ink owners, the vast majority who hadnt even seen the promotion details (as customers had to click on the ad to see the details), were qualifying for the $10 Gift card because every day, there are thousands of customers who own a Kindle and already have Discover set as their 1-click default card, that buy a digital good on Amazon in the ordinary course of their activity.

> Meanwhile the promotion continued to run and within a few more days we had gone over the $500,000 budget.

Discover Card pays $500 000 for a campaign that gives $10 to each user who switches default 1-click card to Discover. Amazon gives $10 mostly to users who already have Discover as default. Munira, the manager, lies to Discover about that.

> Munira was forced to admit under oath in deposition [...] that she falsied her educational record on her resume to Amazon and all her previous employers - claiming to have earned a Bachelors and Masters degree in Computer Science from Stanford when in fact she earned no degrees at all.

Munira is a liar/cheater, and still employed at Amazon.

downandout 6 days ago 2 replies      
The tl;dr version is this:

Discover Card, which spends ~$15M/yr advertising with Amazon, wanted to give a $10 gift card to Kindle users that changed their default Amazon 1-Click purchase settings to use a Discover card. Instead, Amazon gave the gift cards to everyone that used Discover for a 1-click digital purchase, the vast majority of whom already had Discover as their default 1-Click purchase card. Discover's $500K budget was predictably drained in rapid fashion, and they barely got any of the actions they had agreed to pay for. The author of this letter was encouraged to hide this fact, pitch it as an overwhelming success of the campaign, and to ask Discover to expand the budget. He was fired after complaining about being uncomfortable with participating in obvious fraud against their 2nd largest advertiser, and is now suing Amazon.

The failures here occurred in every department. First, at a fundamental technical level, I don't understand how this could happen in the first place if it wasn't intentional. This was a simple CPA campaign. When someone changed their default card to Discover, they got a gift card. So it begins with their "ad execution team". Second, the moment the problem was discovered, they should have simply credited the campaign such that they were only charged for the actions they agreed and intended to pay for. Third, any employee actively involved in encouraging fraud, let alone fraud against their 2nd largest advertiser, should be fired. Their engineering, marketing, legal, and HR teams all failed miserably on this one.

I don't envision myself ever having a need to run a CPA campaign through Amazon, but based on this I would stay away from them as much as possible. They had to have multiple internal discussions about whether or not they should commit a crime against a multi-million dollar advertiser. That's certainly enough to scare me away.

throwawayamz 5 days ago 1 reply      
I was a dev on a partner team (but have since moved on....) and there is a bit more backstory. Kivin wasn't an exec at Amazon, he was 1 of 4 product managers at the time. Only Pinsky remains from that group still on the team. Kivin wasn't my favorite person to work with, but he also clearly had different expectations about the job and responsibilities than what he actually did. He often was frustrated and felt dejected.

Munira has retaliated against others, and it's my understanding she has had "high" churn in her org over the years. Hence throwaway/AC.

For those who want to see the advertisement creatives, they are available here:


Also, note that while the copy on the ads talk about "Receive a $10 gift card when you spend $20 on your discovery card", it was widely understood that the actual goal was to get customers to set their discover card to 1-click. This was the working assumption across the team.

You'll note in the description of the campaign, below, the excellent designer confirms this understanding:

    "Their main objective was to get customers to change their default payment method on Amazon.com to Discover."
This aligns with what Kivin contends.

Amazon Payments privately objected since Discover cards cost more to process than other cards, and so they contended that the advertising campaign would be a net loss for the company since the $500k or so in ad spend would not be made up by the $1MM or so in increased merchant costs. Since Amazon Payments and Amazon Ads are in different orgs and have separate budgets, only someone at Jeff's level or at Discover would see the net... and hence the reason Amazon Ads and Discover would do the deal.

The whole amazon ads program is one unmitigated disaster, both in terms of tech and business. It's a shame. So much of the rest of the company is really good, but it's the few bad orgs like this that tarnish what otherwise could be a neutral employment brand.

CSMastermind 6 days ago 11 replies      
My experience with Amazon HR is this: my ex-girlfriend had an internship with Amazon in the summer of 2013. While there her manager friended her on Facebook then sent her some messages suggesting that if she slept with him he would make sure she got a full time offer and explicitly describing his fantasies about her.

She ended sleeping with him and true to his word he got her the full time position. About a month later I found out about the whole thing and broke up with her.

I submitted the transcripts of their conversations to HR. They conducted an investigation and he admitted to everything. The guy got to keep his job. They transferred him to another group and wanted her to sign a statement saying that nothing improper happened. They strongly suggested that her full time offer might be rescinded is she didn't sign the statement.

She signed and has been working there the past 6 months.

grellas 5 days ago 4 replies      
So you are an Amazon board member and you receive this letter.

The letter is said to be directed to you in confidence. It is not. It is openly published on scribd for all the world to see.

The letter is said to be written by an ex-executive of the company. It is not. Or, if it is, it is written in a style that has "lawyer-written" stamped all over it.

The person making the claims is saying he is doing this to uphold company values but is far from disinterested. If he was fired for whistleblowing, that is wrongful and he gets large damages. Otherwise, not. So, maybe it is sincere and maybe not. But who knows?

The person also waited two years to write this letter. Does this undercut its premise that its goal is to correct wrongdoing? Or was it now put out opportunistically to further some litigation goal instead? Again, who knows?

Ditto for a complaint being made just now to the Washington agency responsible for fraud. Why now and not earlier if the problems were serious and pressing?

Then too, the alleged victim (Discover Card) is hardly a naive consumer, knows how to defend itself, and had known enough about this to ask questions going as far back as 2012. Is there, then, less than meets the eye concerning the claims of its having been overtly cheated?

Everything stated in this letter may be true and damning as it appears. I don't know what happened, nor do I know the people involved. But I do know when something is framed insincerely and this letter is framed insincerely. It may all be true but its style and timing do not ring true.

This has to have another side to it, in my view, and it is wrong to take it as self-evidently true without hearing that other side. What we have now is only a one-sided story that is heavily slanted in its presentation.

Certainly if I were a board member to whom this was purportedly directed, I would be highly skeptical. I would assume instead that I was not even the intended audience for the letter. And I would probably be right.

mgraczyk 6 days ago 7 replies      
Off topic: Why does Scribd have a perfectly functional mobile site that allows me to read half the PDF before rudely graying out my screen and insisting that I download their app to finish? I was reading with my phone rotated to landscape so at first I couldn't even see the pop up, the PDF just went gray. I call that borderline psychological abuse. At the very least I'm going to subconsciously associate the Scribd brand with that horrible experience.
moe 6 days ago 1 reply      
What a fascinating insight into the guts of a MegaCorp. Their scale (Discover alone paying $13MM/yr for ads), politics and inner workings. Very well written, too.

The most interesting aspect to me, apart from the main plot, was how far detached from reality everyone is operating.

Someone discovers a fatal flaw (5 second latency) in a multi-million dollar ad campaign.

You'd think this is a no-brainer; file a bug with the engineering team and have this fixed, right?

Instead, at Amazon, it eventually escalates into someone desperately "asking for the contact information for the person that manages latency for amazon.com". That alone is the stuff that comedy TV shows are made of.

Stories like these make me feel real pity for the little engineers all the way down the food chain. The ones who had to implement and test this adserver. The ones who likely weren't happy at all with 5 second latencies either.

I wonder if their voices were squelched by management in the same way, or if there's just an established culture of resignation and nobody cares anymore.

oskarth 6 days ago 3 replies      
What I didnt know at the time was the the HR Business manager was a good personal friend of Munira, and in what seems to be a betrayal of trust, informed my manager that I was trying to get a transfer. At my next 1:1 meeting Munira explained You think youre going to get a transfer out of my group? Im putting you into a Performance Improvement Plan which prevents transfers for 12 months.

This reads like it came from a dystopian MegaCorp sci-fi story. Is this for real?

xiaoma 6 days ago 3 replies      
>"Amazon gave me their final offer: 4 weeks of severance for 18 months of adhering to the broad non-compete that would not allow me to earn a living in my eld, and further explained that if I didnt accept their final offer, Amazon would sue me for tens of thousands of dollars in relocation expenses."

It's because of stories like this that I'd never work at Amazon. They have a history of suing their own employees soon after parting ways.

monochr 6 days ago 4 replies      
> Munira had falsified her educational record on her resume to Amazon and all her former employers - claiming to have both a Bachelors and Masters in Computer Science from Stanford when in fact she had earned no degrees at all.There is more detail on this issue and Muniras pattern of ethical lapses and misleading and deceptive practices later in this letter.

Why is this person still employed, let alone have any responsibility?

pja 6 days ago 2 replies      
"At my next 1:1 meeting Munira explained You think youre going to get a transfer out of my group? Im putting you into a Performance Improvement Plan which prevents transfers for 12 months."

I remember michaelochurch making almost exactly this point about PIPs on HN in the past - that it was far too easy for them to be used a tool for employee abuse & finding yourself under a PIP was a strong signal that should move on as soon as possible, regardless of the professed reasoning behind the PIP.

MrBuddyCasino 6 days ago 6 replies      
In Germany, you would be laughed out of court for trying to enforce an 18-month noncompete clause, at least if its too broad - that would be equal to an occupational ban. Is this really standard practice in the US?
r0h1n 6 days ago 1 reply      
The entire letter reads like an allegory about the politics, insecurities, coverups, overinflated egos and outright lies that are commonplace in large companies. Only reinforces my desire to stay clear of big co. "careers".
alexggordon 6 days ago 0 replies      
> Amazon gave me their nal offer: 4 weeks of severance for 18 months of adhering to the broad non-compete that would not allow me to earn a living in my eld, and further explained that if I didn't accept their nal offer, Amazon would sue me for tens of thousands of dollars in relocation expenses.

The most interesting part to me is the lack of foresight by Amazon. Obviously this is a pretty big coverup, but with a pending lawsuit, and obvious wrongdoing to Amazon's 2nd biggest ad revenue generator, I'm particularly surprised more work wasn't put into solving/covering up this issue as soon as it started blooming. I know Bezos is crazy in his desire to make Amazon the biggest giant on the block, but it doesn't take a genius (which Bezos probably is) to realize a potentially huge problem when it happens.

However, the fact that this wasn't dealt with in a better way, AND Bezos ignored emails from Kivin [0], leads me to two possible conclusions.

A. Bezos didn't know the full situation, and Blackburn deceived him.

B. Bezos knew the full situation, but chose to side with Blackburn (I suspect Munira didn't even cross his mind) because he values Blackburn more than morality.

Either of these situations show that there was a decision made by Blackburn that this could be covered up cheaper than it could be remedied--a decision I find to be Occam's Razor here. The reason I think it was Blackburn, is I think Bezos is smart enough to just remove Kivin's non-compete just to make it go away without even costing Bezos any of his precious little revenue.

I tend to evaluate companies based on how they treat their employees and if Munira and Blackburn are the typical managers and VPs at Amazon, then I think really find myself not needing Amazon's services anymore. Let's hope this hasn't happened to anyone else.

[0] "Ive sent two letters to Jeff Bezos (as these are serious issues that I believe he would care about as the founder of the company and keeper of the culture)" (pg 2).

jorgecastillo 6 days ago 3 replies      
I had more esteem for Amazon, after this I definitely view Amazon in a different light. I am glad the only thing I buy from Amazon is books. In a few years when I have more time & money, I'll keep this in mind and maybe go directly to the publishers. I don't forget this sort of thing. Some time ago there was an article titled 'Motorola cell phones are regularly phoning home'. Not that I was too fond of the Motorola brand before, but since then if I know a someone is buying a smartphone, I advice then not to buy Motorola.


toli 5 days ago 1 reply      
I went to Stanford with Munira, she was a few years older but we overlapped, and she was a CS Section Leader (CS198) which means she taught my intro CS class when I took it, and helped me (and others) when I was stuck writing my first programs.

I subsequently became friends with her, and I can personally vouch that she took all the requisite CS classes, and she was pulling all-nighters in the same lab as me, writing code for her classes. I remember Munira being wicked smart - and an honest conscientious person.

Now, she may not have officially graduated - but keep in mind that she was finishing Stanford in the heady dot-com days, and she was likely a few units short of getting a full degree when Epiphany (a high-flying startup at the time) lured her in, and she never went back to finishing it. Similar story happened to me - i was 3 or 4 units short of required 45 units to get my CS Masters when i was graduating (I did the same co-term program where you get a BS and MS at the same time); and Stanford wanted me to pay the remaining $4k to get my degree. I paid, but quite possible that Munira was in the same boat, went to work for Epiphany and never bothered to finish her remaining units.

I don't work for Amazon, and I don't know the full details of the story - but it sounds a lot like ramblings of a disgruntled employee. I would definitely like to hear/see the Amazon side of the story before I draw any conclusions.

Keep in mind - I'm heavily biased, I was friends with Munira at Stanford and afterwards before she moved to Seattle, but i'm very skeptical to be taking all of the allegations at face value.

Official degree or not, I'd hire her to work at my startup in a heartbeat without any worries.

side note: Munira is not exUSSR from Tajikistan - good guess, but she just worked there for one summer. Nor Bangladeshi either. Either way, it's not in any way material to this conversation. I, on the other hand, am from former USSR, in case that makes any difference.

adam-a 6 days ago 5 replies      
> Munira is a liar/cheater,

> Why is this person still employed, let alone have any responsibility?

It should be remembered that this is an accusation, and potentially fabricated or editorialised. It's probably ruined this woman's career by now and doesn't justify a witchunt or personal abuse.

The author, having been fired, has a very good reason to seek revenge, and we shouldn't take his word as gospel.

kvargs 6 days ago 1 reply      
Hi All - Kivin here - thanks for the words of support - it really helps. Yes I thought HR was at a minimum neutral. In Amazon, your HR contact is called your "HR Business Partner" which in retrospect is completely bogus. They are there to do what the exec management chain wants them to do.
akclr 6 days ago 2 replies      
Here's a link that says that he has won the litigation against Amazonhttp://www.advocateslg.com/blog/2013/07/litigation_success_a...
aetherspawn 6 days ago 1 reply      
Remember kids.

Anyone who will steal for your company,will steal from your company.

morky 6 days ago 1 reply      
I find it odd that so many in the tech industry idolise Amazon so much, they are just like many other aggressive retailers such as Walmart or Tesco.

Interestingly Kivin sounds like the type of person you ideally want working and managing your product but most corporations are actually staffed by people like Munira and Kotas.

sidcool 6 days ago 0 replies      
Saddest statement in the entire write up:

>My manager did not communicate to her management chain the positive impact I was having on the product - in fact, she once told me Youre here to make me look good - youre doing an awesome job

mrtree 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is a GIANT, epic scale burn to Munira Rahemtulla.
ericd 6 days ago 1 reply      
Side note, but Scribd is garbage. Got to page 3 or 4 before it demands that I install their mobile app to keep reading. I don't know why people keep posting on there.
gnu8 6 days ago 1 reply      
Haha, why would anyone ever agree to an unfunded non-compete clause? If you're required not to work for 18 months, you need to be paid for 18 months.

Any of you who accept an unfunded non-compete clause are suckers and any of you who try to trick your employees into agreeing to them are ass pirates.

paulhauggis 6 days ago 0 replies      
This sort of behavior at Amazon does not surprise me. If you are a third-party seller, they will eventually use your own sales data to go around you, buy whatever you are selling at bulk, and put you out of business.

This past September, they had major server issues, which cost sellers lots of money in sales. They refuse to admit it.

As a seller, you also don't own your customers (you are given the privilege of selling to amazons customers). Which means that at any point in time, Amazon could take it all away and all of the hard work you put into pleasing the people buying your products goes to waste. They have been recently making it more and more difficult for the average user to even continue their business. So many people that have been selling for years are prevented from continuing without paperwork from distributors (which as I've seen in the past, is just a trick to find out where they can compete with you)

With thaw business practices, they should have been out of business years ago.

logicchains 6 days ago 1 reply      
So they basically tricked Discover out of something like $400,000? I wonder what Discover thinks of this...
ChuckMcM 6 days ago 0 replies      
Good luck with the lawsuit Kivin. Sadly I didn't see anything in the letter that I would not have expected to be true at any large company. Given what you know of the company I'm pretty sure you can ignore the non-compete for now, if they want to enforce it they have to sue you, and if they sue you they have to have all of this come out in court. Which they won't, so you're fine there.

Not a great resolution I know.

pseingatl 5 days ago 0 replies      
What's this case about? An employee who had a dispute with his supervisor. As in most cases, the supervisor won. The employee's future with the company is destroyed. The supervisor is protected by the company. The employee sues.

There may or may not be long-term collateral damage. The alleged victim, Discovery, isn't talking and may already have settled with Amazon outside the context of litigation. The supervisor's fraudulent resum is now a matter of public record. She will be kept on at least until this lawsuit is over because Amazon needs her as a witness. After the case is resolved, she will resign.

Could this matter have been resolved any other way? Probably not. It's sad to see that legacy companies are just as bureaucratic as legacy ones. Jeff Blackburn is culpable for not censuring Munira R. after Kivin V. brought this matter to his attention--after all, he was the one who insisted on a fix. Kivin should have tried to convince Munira R. to go with him to Jeff Blackburn. If she said no, then he would have to weigh her probable reaction. Clearly, Kivin miscalculated. He didn't realize how powerful Munira R. is at Amazon and what allies she had--and I say had because her time at Amazon is numbered. A person in Munira's position, who has to keep a secret, must weigh the possibility that secret will get out. Her miscalculation was thinking that Kivin would get fired and go away and her secret would remain hidden.

Matters like this are clearly not serious enough for board intervention. It's for that reason that you have management in the first place. The board does not manage day to day affairs of the business and relies on management to do so.

For Amazon, this squabble is a distraction that harms the company. What happens when companies get sued is that they circle the wagons. Whatever you might say about throwing attorneys at a problem, those attorneys know that because of Munira, their case is vulnerable. Munira's lies will be Exhibit #1 during her cross-examination. Indeed, her own attorneys will have to bring out her c.v. falsification--and not through the weasel-worded, "she had yet to complete the degree" nonsense spouted by Jeff Blackburn during his deposition. He was poorly coached by Amazon's attorneys. He should have simply admitted that she lied. Otherwise the follow-up--when you drag in twelve strangers off the street and make them sit together and call them a jury--will be, why can't you admit the obvious? Are you trying to hide something? What might that be? Amazon was probably blindsided by Munira's lies: as a top executive under a clear policy to tell the truth and an HR department that could easily have followed up, Amazon's general counsel and attorneys could not have expected that she would have lied. If you think you can't lose a case because a single witness lied about an unrelated matter, try rewinding the OJ tapes and listen to the cross of Mark Fuhrman.

So what now? Amazon's smart move is to ignore the sit-in because all an arrest or eviction will do is bring more unwanted attention to the case. They may ask the judge in the case for an injunction preventing the sit-in because it is arguably an unethical settlement move not provided for by the Rules of Civil Procedure, and Kivin agreed to follow those rules by filing suit.

Amazon has already backed down from the non-compete clause. I'm sure they would love to settle the case. But guys who camp out on your doorstep are usually difficult to settle with. Maybe Kivin sees millions of dollars--an executive paid $250k/yr. with thirty years of work, plus injury to reputation, plus interest would be entitled to a substantial sum. My guess is that Kivin doesn't want to settle. He feels hurt, wants to prove he's right, wants his day in court.

My advice to both sides: settle. Kivin: take less than what you think they owe you, get them to agree to give you a glowing reference (though in the publicity-heavy context of this case I don't know valuable this will be immediately) and agree not to disparage Amazon. Amazon: despite the fact that your lawyers have told you this is a winnable case, it will only get worse. You have nothing to gain.

To both of you: don't you guys watch Star Trek? Don't you remember the lesson of the Kobayashi Maru? Litigation is like that test that only Captain Kirk ever beat: the only way to win is not to play the game. If you win, you still lose heavily.

akclr 6 days ago 1 reply      
Here is link that says he has won the litigation against amazon.http://www.advocateslg.com/blog/2013/07/litigation_success_a...
empressplay 6 days ago 0 replies      
All the ethics principles in the world won't help you if you rock the boat in a company entrenched in nepotism and communal ass-covering. Everyone's happy to do the right thing if their ass (or their buddy's) isn't on the line.
kvargs 6 days ago 3 replies      
jan_g 6 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting read. I've had my share of office politics in my career so far and it still baffles me how often it happens that people who add little or no value to the company become so entrenched and powerful. It's like the upper management and/or owners are blind to what happens within the company, despite the clues and complaints from the staff.

Meanwhile, best people leave the company.

lhnz 6 days ago 0 replies      
This reflects very poorly on Amazon.

They should promote those that speak out about fraud that they witness and not fire them.

If people like Munira Rahemtulla and Paul Kotas are still employed, it suggests to me that advertisers should be very wary about the nature of their advertising relationships with Amazon and whether they're getting good value for their money.

swombat 6 days ago 0 replies      
Disclaimer: I haven't read through the entire thing (just the first 3 pages or so), but I have been on the receiving end of entirely spurious threats of lawsuit.

All of this needs to be read with some measure of skepticism. However, the complaint provides a fair amount of evidence, not just claims of wrongdoing... that gives it a fair amount of credence in my eyes.

If so, that is very damning of the top-down, strongly hierarchical culture that Amazon is well-known for - but I would argue it is inevitable for any company that has a very hierarchical top-down culture...

You can't make up for the downsides of top-down management with pretty words and values and employee handbooks. Hierarchical, power-based management will always lead to serious ethical lapses like this.

kvargs 6 days ago 2 replies      
Follow @kvargs on twitter for more detail
igonvalue 2 days ago 0 replies      
Did anyone else find the document difficult to read because of the tortuous writing style?

> Though I was assured the internal investigation at Amazon was independent and thorough, we later found the investigation around the matters I raised while employed at Amazon was directed by the same internal Amazon lawyer that was helping my manager terminate my employment based on the same issues I raised in the internal complaint - so Amazons counsel was essentially directing the investigation around serious issues that she had been responsible for handling herself - far from independent and thorough and a surprising lack of internal controls for a public company like Amazon.

matwood 6 days ago 1 reply      
More proof that the only relationship you want with Amazon is as a customer. You do not want to be an employee, a vender, or any sort of partner.
jnsaff2 6 days ago 0 replies      
The further I read the more it reminds me The Gervais Principle. http://www.ribbonfarm.com/the-gervais-principle/
awjr 6 days ago 0 replies      
Have to say some of the behaviour does appear to come across as psychotic within the upper echelons of Amazon. I'm guessing to get high up in Amazon you have to play quite a vicious game?
glifchits 5 days ago 0 replies      
Its very disappointing to see that this behaviour continues to exist in organizations, even with a leader like Bezos (I'll optimistically assume he practices the ethical standards he preaches). It seems like a fundamental tension in business. How can mistakes ever be admitted when shareholders react aggressively on any indication of poor management performance? Meanwhile today, in light of this news, AMZN stock is up. How disheartening.
atmosx 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is a prominent example of how things can go wrong in big companies. That's exactly what happens in the (so globally hated) Greek public sector. The fact that it happens at companies like Amazon (probably MS, FB, GOOG, APPL, SONY, etc. ) says a lot about politics in big corps/orgs.

Unfortunately skills are not all that relevant after all in our modern liberal society.

throwawfromlv 5 days ago 0 replies      
The document does not have the image of the ad itself or how it was advertised to customers. What was stopping customers with discover card to temporarily remove and re-add it? Promotions like this are picked up by coupon blogs, with detailed steps to get the deals. This would explain the ad budget getting over before the forecast and also, gift cards being awarded to users, who had not even seen the ad.

The document does acknowledge that the team responsible for forecast "ad execution team", admitting the fuck up and using amazon cash to fund the the remainder of the promotion. Meanwhile implementing the workflow to require ad click requirement.

Given the context that this was a secretive gen 1 kindle tablet project, people should have been working hard to pull it off by deadline. And you have this whistleblower shooting emails to SVP looking for "who is responsible for latency on amazon.com". I am an engineer at an equally big company in bay area, I hate to work with PMs like OP.

drderidder 6 days ago 1 reply      
This isn't the first story of bad behavior from Amazon. Another story [https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6104571] from a contract worker appeared over a year and a half ago. I haven't used them since. But I'm wondering what are some good alternatives for book purchases?
jessaustin 5 days ago 0 replies      
Regarding the Bezos quotes, it is striking that instead of saying "we will do X and we will not do Y", he opted for the considerably more weaselly "X is cool and Y is not cool". To those whose careers depend on doing Y, he might as well not have mentioned it, which was probably his intent.
wrd 5 days ago 0 replies      
As scandalous as this letter is, the politics, intrigue, and retaliation follow to a T the description of corporate mangers' logic and ethics as written in Moral Mazes by Robert Jackall. I highly recommend it for a better understanding of why people act the way they do in a corporate context.
bphogan 6 days ago 0 replies      
It wouldn't be called "Human Resources" if that department were on the side of the worker. They wouldn't be calling the workers "resources."

My wife's studying to go into this field and that's basically what she's taught - you're in HR for the company.

jmomo 6 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if Michael Woodford (Olympus scandal) would be interested in having this brought to his attention.
chj 6 days ago 3 replies      
Since no one else asked -- isn't this confidential?
swamp40 5 days ago 1 reply      
What's the legality of Kivin releasing internal emails like this to the general public?

I would never do something like that.

Even if I was completely and horribly screwed over, I would only share information like this with my attorney.

dang 5 days ago 0 replies      
We changed the title from "Letter to Amazon Board from Ad Exec Fired for Refusing to Lie to Customer" to the largest subset of it that any of us is in a position to confirm is accurate.
tdsamardzhiev 6 days ago 0 replies      
Well that's it, I'm done with Amazon. I hope everything goes well for Kivin. As for Munira, I am ashamed of myself, but sometimes I really want certain peaple to step on a landmine.
moogleii 6 days ago 1 reply      
There are some odd policies here. There's the crazy non-compete clause (if those are allowed, the former company should pay for however long the clause lasts). Then there's the "Performance Improvement Plan." I don't really understand the purpose of preventing transfers. If an employee truly needs improvement, how does preventing transfers have anything to do with that?

Based off other former employee anecdotes, Amazon is starting to sound like the Walmart of the internet.

jotjotzzz 6 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is horrible. Munira needs to be fired. And to be honest, I lost a lot of respect for Amazon and for Jeff Bezos over this. So much so that I sold all my Amazon stocks just now.
andyjohnson0 6 days ago 0 replies      
According to this [1] article (dated today) in Business Insider Australia, Kivin Varghese has been camping outside Amazon's HQ until it addresses his complaint.

It also has a more readable explanation of who/what/when than the linked pdf.

[1] http://www.businessinsider.com.au/amazon-employee-lawsuit-ki...

abalone 6 days ago 1 reply      
Poor guy.

First, writing a letter to the board asking for their help while simultaneously threatening that you've filed it with the attorney general's office is disingenuous. While that will call attention to yourself it is unlikely to produce a positive outcome. Which seems to be a pattern at the heart of his difficulties.

Second, the initial incident of 5 second latency with displaying an ad was addressed prior to launch. He was reprimanded for sounding an alarm 3 levels up without first researching a solution.

Third, and most importantly, his central ethics claim re: Discover is questionable. The promotion was to give $10 to people who used Discover. Much of his claim rests on his editorializing of the aims of the promo, specifically that it would be useless and mere "subsidy" unless targeted specifically at 1-click setting conversions. But that's debatable. He's the only one saying that. He admits the promotion was not set up that way, and Amazon reports that Discover was ok with it proceeding as long as it was narrowed to Fire users and capped at the original budget.

It doesn't sound like Amazon's finest hour but when you strip out the one-sided editorializing these break more towards bugs and campaign issues that occasionally arise and get addressed in the course of development / advertising, and he breaks a little bit toward a messiah complex.

mistermumble 5 days ago 0 replies      
so Kivin is taking the fight to the streets, or at least to the front door of Amazon HQ, with a daily protest vigil.


rebootthesystem 5 days ago 0 replies      
It sure sounds like the wrong person was fired.

I have experience with the Amazon advertising platform. Not on the Kindle side but what I'll call "Amazon main". And I can tell you it ain't pretty at all.

I don't know if I should characterize this as fraud. Not sure what the legal designation might be.

Here's a hypothetical example to try to explain the problem:

Imagine you are selling product on Amazon. Products you manufacture. And, in order to drive sales you purchase ads on the Amazon ads platform. You only pay when someone clicks. Ads accomplish two missions: sales and ranking improvement. Ranking on Amazon is important. The closer your product is to the top of page one the more sales you'll generate. Ads can help you accomplish this.

So far so good.

Now imagine someone is teaching a course on how to scam Amazon buyers and make money in the process. The course teaches you to find successful listings on Amazon and, effectively, add your name to the product page as an additional seller. Amazon encourages this. It's ridiculously easy. Once you have a seller account it takes all of one minute to pick a product and list against it.

But, wait, you don't actually make that product. You don't even have any in stock. How do you do this? Simple, when a customer makes a purchase you send them some crap product that is similar enough. If you do your homework your fake product will not be returned and you just made some money.

Here's the problem. The legitimate product manufacturer spent thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars advertising the product on Amazon to get it well ranked and generate enough sales that the product has a good reputation (reviews, etc.). Amazon, in turn, allows ANYONE to list against ANY product and, effectively steal the time, money and effort expended by the rightful product producer in making that product a success in the Amazon ecosystem.

In other words, if you just spent $100K advertising your product on Amazon they allow Joe Blow to come in and take away 25% to 50% (or whatever) of the sales you generate with that ad spend. And there's NOTHING you can do about it.

Imagine Amazon spending millions of dollars to advertise their Kindle tablet during the Superbowl or the Olympics. Now imagine the TV network allowing Apple and Microsoft to display a link to their tablets FOR FREE within the Amazon Kindle ad. Crazy, right? Amazon wouldn't put up with that for a microsecond. They'd say: If Apple and Microsoft want to sell their tablets they need to pay for their own advertising on their own time slot. And they would be correct in pushing for this. The networks would, effectively, allow Amazon's competitors to steal Amazon's advertising budget for their own financial gains. Wrong. Well, this is EXACTLY what Amazon is doing today to every single one of their advertisers.

If you advertise on Amazon your ad budget is very likely to generate sales for competitors. That is wrong beyond description and Amazon seems to have zero interest in fixing the problem. The solution is very simple: A listing that has an active spend budget needs to be locked out from any other sellers. It becomes a single seller listing for as long as the seller is spending even a single dollar a day in Amazon ads. Problem solved.

After reading most of the posted letter I've come to realize that the problems within Amazon are much greater than I thought. You see two faces of this corporation when you work with them as a vendor. The public face looks clean, organized and inviting. The "back office" side is in constant chaos, is disorganized, has ethical problems, is clueless, does NOT have the seller's/advertisers best interests at heart and, it seems, is perfectly comfortable with conducting business in unethical and fraudulent ways, perhaps unintentionally due to dysfunction, yet the consequences to those engaging with that side of the organization are the same.

Where is Jeff Bezos in all of this? It would seem he needs to become very visible and push forward a major reform in a very public way, at least public to their advertisers. Almost like what Domino's Pizza did:


kohanz 6 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, what a terrible experience. The evidence does seem to show that this guy was just trying to do the right job and do it ethically and he was basically tarred and feathered for doing so by his superiors, who are just a rung or two below Bezos.

I wonder how AMZN employees feel, reading this.

usaphp 6 days ago 1 reply      
If Munira has never attended Stanford, then why is her alumni card exist on Stanford website? : http://cgi.stanford.edu/group/mfp/cgi-bin/mfpalumni/may_view...
nl 6 days ago 1 reply      
major launch partners paid $1.2MM each to be part of the launch

Woah! I had no idea Amazon was making that much from advertising on the Kindles at launch (although I guess it's a little unclear what they are paying for there).

I wonder how many launch partners they had?

p4wnc6 5 days ago 0 replies      
Oh, oh, I know this one! I read about this in Moral Mazes: < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_Mazes >!
sidcool 5 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like coining a new phrase 'Pulling of a Munira', defined as 'Successfully but falsely convincing people of having a degree from a coveted university over a long period of time'
rburhum 6 days ago 1 reply      
Sorty for the side note, but is anybody else having trouble reading this opened in a browser in an iPad? I don't understand why something as simple as scrolling through a doc has to be impossible in 2014
graycat 5 days ago 0 replies      
A classic case of goal subordination, astandard topic in courses in organizationalbehavior and/or public administration.

So, the definition of goal subordination isan employee acting in a way that helps thembut hurts the company. That is, the goal ofhelping the company is subordinated to, that is,made less important than, the goal of helping the person engaging in goal subordination.

In the case of the OP, it was not nearly justthe fired employee who was hurt but 2-3 levelsof management above that employee, the wholecompany, Bezos, and the stockholders.

Gee, some parts of the roll out were notready on time! Like this is the first timein projects? Gee, even for the pyramids,the project leaders needed enough in workers,food, stone cutting tools, wood, rope, etc. --lack of any one of these inputs could stopthe whole leaders whole project. That'spart of what we now call materials requirementsplanning, right, MRP. And for getting all the parts ready on time, there is methodologyfor that, in part, an application of linearprogramming with critical paths, etc. USaerospace got good at such things. So, thatlittle project at Amazon fumbled the ball onhaving the ad parts ready? They hired thepeople straight out of what, kindergarten?

And, after the project went forward, Amazonsent in a staff group, in an independent part of the organization, to analyze what wentright/wrong? In Tunisia, Ike did that afterKasserine and the other battles in the Tunisian campaign, and soon Rommel was permanently backin Berlin, and the Allies had captured about 300,000 Axis soldiers and driventhe Axis out of North Africa, from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, toEgypt and the Suez Canal.

Apparently in the US Army, such analysis of whathappened is called an after-action review,e.g., as at


not nearly new stuff, and Amazonshould be able to do well with such a process.

Managing, planning, executing, reviewingprojects is not nearly new stuff; Amazonjust blew it. Not so good for Bezos.

The most serious sources of goal subordinationare middle management: The worker beesdon't have enough power seriously to hurtthe company, and the work of the C-levelguys is too visible to the CEO and the BoD.

It's totally dumb for the company to haveHR blindly back middle management possiblyengaged in goal subordination, playing politics to "look good" while, really,making a mess, etc. E.g., she was messingup and reported to a guy who knew herresume was wrong -- can anyone guess whatmight have been going on here? I mean,anyone who at least went through junior high?Bezos made it through junior high, right?

Also there needs to be a company culture ofhonesty, hard work, good ideas, etc. Forsuch a culture, need to be sure that a middle manager won't dump on a subordinatewho does really good work.

A lot is known about how to manage, e.g.,to reduce goal subordination.

For the employee who got fired, when I getaround to needing a guy to work with major advertisers, I'll consider him in amillisecond. "Black list"? Sure, finewith me; the other companies can black listhim while I hire him!

But he might sue my company? If my company messed up asbadly as it appears Amazon did, then heshould sue us; if he didn't, that would beagainst him. I'd hope that we wouldn'tmess up like that.

Yes, that ad guy might report some reallygreat successes to me. Okay, I mean, terrific, if they arereal. Of course, I'd also get independentconfirmation, say, directly from appropriatepeople at the company paying for the ads.If he did really well, then, sure, presto,bingo, bonus time, say, early in December.

I know; I know; this idea of such a bonusdoesn't go along with the Ben Horowitzlecture, just yesterday or some such, in Sam's course, right? Sorry, Ben. The US militarycan give battlefield promotions, decorations,etc., so I'll be willing to hand out aDecember bonus.

If the ad guy didn't do so well, then have a projectto understand why and do better the next time.If he needs to go to a week long seminar"How to Be a Good Ad Exec 101", and it's actuallya useful seminar, then fine. If he can't reallydo the job, then help him learn to do his job.

Why might he not be able to do his job? One reason:He worked really hard on some of his last jobswhile the world changed. So, e.g., he needsto get caught up on, say, the business of mobile ads. Okay;let him get caught up.

Notice I said he's an "ad guy" and notan "Ad Exec". I just want him to do hisjob and not hang on titles that can causeproblems (here Ben was roughly correct).

And the manager? Largely to heck withthat nonsense: In a good university, usually adepartment chair doesn't get to rule overthe professors as if they were subordinateworker bees. Instead, the chair does somecoordination, etc., and the job is notalways coveted and not necessarily apromotion!

Basic fact: Each instance of good workis first done between just one pairof ears. Sorry 'bout that. Fora team, all the good work is of justthis kind. What we really want now isjust such good work. For the routinecoordination, etc. can leave that tomanagers, but that is inferior work.E.g., the coordination needed to getall the pieces done on time for thebig roll out is work that was doneat least back to the pyramids and, thus,has to be regarded as routine.

Some of this is controversial? Yup.YMMV. Sorry 'bout that.

hrasyid 5 days ago 0 replies      
Forgive this stupid question, but how do we know the letter as seen on this scribd link is authentic, let alone verify all the screenshots, emails and transcripts in that letter?
tw04 6 days ago 0 replies      
Well... Discover is fully aware now.
devanti 5 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone know how Discover responded to this? Are they still working with Amazon?
g8gggu89 5 days ago 0 replies      
I like how he's unhappy with 2 weeks' severance pay when the rest of us little people get nothing when fired or leaving a job.
iblaine 6 days ago 0 replies      
Another result of this witch hunt is Munira Rahemtulla will forever be tied to this lawsuit whenever someone googles her name.
kordless 6 days ago 0 replies      
Nice timing on this story.
khrist 5 days ago 0 replies      
is there any comment from amazon on this yet?
RomanPushkin 6 days ago 2 replies      
pessimizer 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised this story got so many comments (I flagged it, and I rarely flag.) It seems like a minor internal dispute between an conscientious employee and their bad, less-conscientious manager, over a very small amount of money.

I can't detect a larger issue involved here except that when people screw up in a way that loses money, they will sometimes try to come up with a way to cover their ass rather than admit it and attempt to rectify it and therefore show everyone that they messed up.

Whoever posted it has exposed Amazon to a lawsuit, though. When eventually negotiating to fix this quietly with Discover, Amazon will be at a serious disadvantage.

opendais 6 days ago 1 reply      
In case anyone was wondering why I bash Amazon's non-AWS technical staff...

They screwed up the promotion, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and 3-5s latency for ads? :P

That is the only part of this complaint I find interesting.

yahya94 6 days ago 0 replies      
MrBuddyCasino 6 days ago 1 reply      
His company won - they violated the NDA and misappropriated trade secrets, why would that lawsuit have been frivolous?
john_smiths 5 days ago 0 replies      
While one thing's for sure, I am blacklisting him from my company.
mozboz 6 days ago 0 replies      
TL;DR: 'I was surprised to learn how online advertising works, my manager in a big corp made me sad.'
dkarapetyan 6 days ago 2 replies      
This is dramatic but nothing unusual at a large company like amazon. This shouldn't really be on the front page.
machrider 6 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon does actually sue former employees occasionally: http://www.geekwire.com/2014/amazon-sues-employee-taking-goo...

Everyone likes to point out how unenforceable they are, but can you afford to take Amazon on in court?

colinbartlett 6 days ago 5 replies      
Regardless of whatever happened, the letter comes off like the whining ramblings of a former employee.

This all refers back to a 2012 lawsuit: http://www.geekwire.com/2012/kindle-ad-team-member-sues-amaz...

President Obama Calls for a Free and Open Internet
1214 points by jordanmessina  9 days ago   432 comments top 72
AndrewHampton 9 days ago 13 replies      
Here's the thing that bothers me the most about a lot of the talk about net neutrality by government officials:

> If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it.

Specifically "and the content is legal" is what raises a flag for me. I've seen similar phrases in nearly everything I've read coming from any government official regarding net neutrality.

If this phrasing makes it into eventual laws regarding net neutrality, it seems to me that it could easily require inspection of all traffic by ISPs to ensure the legality of traffic.

DigitalSea 8 days ago 9 replies      
As per usual with all politicians, these are just words. Nice words, but until a bill is passed and there is movement in the senate to make something like this closer to a reality, words are meaningless.

My question to Obama is: why now? This whole net neutrality debate has been going on long before Obama started his first term of presidency, why wait until you are almost out of the White House to act upon something as important as this? He has had six years to act on this. Could it perhaps have anything to do with the fact the Democrats took a heavy blow recently with Republicans being popular with the voters in the recent election? Is Obama merely trying to save some face with the voters for his party to mitigate risk at the next presidential election?

Maybe, maybe not. It probably is not fair of me to try and make connections to speculative thoughts like that. I am passionate about net neutrality and it just feels weird Obama is going public on a subject like this not long after votes were casted.

But you know what? Either way, if Obama can get a bill deeming internet to be classified as a utility within the next two years, maybe he will leave behind a legacy that we talk of in the years to come. It might be six years too late, but if anyone can make something like this happen, it is the president.

I am aware that the FCC can change things without any bills needing to be passed and while I am speculating here, the FCC is not exactly known for being honest and transparent. An independent agency with some suspicious ties to lobbyists and corporations trying to protect their monopolies like Comcast. The issue here is the FCC can change things and should change things but ultimately will not change a thing unless the pressure is there from the right hands. Obama speaking up is great, do not get me wrong, but I think the likes of the FCC will need more than gentle words to start changing things. Action needs to be taken.

I simply refuse to believe that an agency can run itself to the point where it controls what can and cannot happen with something as important as the internet which in my opinion is a basic human right to have access to.

kyro 9 days ago 1 reply      
Because TC doesn't bother with the editing process anymore, here's a direct link to the letter: https://medium.com/@PresidentObama/my-plan-for-a-free-and-op...
padobson 9 days ago 8 replies      
I hope no one is getting excited about this.

President Obama is a lame duck. His party just got tossed out of the Senate, relegating his political capital to basically 0. In the wake of this, he's decided to take maybe the most important economic issue of the next 20 years and politicize it.

Neither the red team nor the blue team could say they owned this issue, but one of the most divisive voices in politics just stuck the blue flag in it - at a time when he has less influence over policy than any other time in his presidency.

I would have preferred him to just keep his mouth shut.

joezydeco 8 days ago 3 replies      
And it's already getting worse:


"Net Neutrality" is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.

yc1010 9 days ago 15 replies      
I am not American (feel free to ignore my opinion) but this is just a bad joke from someone who seems to be an utmost failure.

Especially in light of last week FBI/NSA/DHS undermining TOR and killing its utility for any dissidents and free speech in authoritarian states. Under his watch the surveillance state has expanded and has become downright creepy

25 years after the fall of the Berlin wall we should be saying "Ich bin ein Ost-Berliner" :(The Stasi would be proud of the surveillance state that western countries have created with Obama at the helm.

edit: Oh i see the cult of personality is still strong in this one, downvoted in under a minute.

rlpb 9 days ago 1 reply      
It seems to me that introducing net neutrality law is a band-aid over what is really just monopolistic behaviour because last-mile providers don't have competition.

Why not fix the root cause? Force last-mile providers to provide transit to third party ISPs like they do in the UK, or otherwise regulate them specifically.

I don't see why rules should apply across the board to markets where there is healthy competition. There is no problem elsewhere, is there?

zoba 8 days ago 1 reply      
I am excited Obama is getting in on this, however, I'm concerned Net Neutrality may become a partisan issue. Ted Cruz has stated that Net Neutrality is like Obamacare for the internet (http://www.businessinsider.com/ted-cruz-net-neutrality-is-ob...) which just enrages me. Please get the message out to your conservative friends/family before the right has an opportunity to brain wash them.
philovivero 9 days ago 5 replies      
Huh? Is this the same President Obama that put Tom Wheeler in charge of the FCC? In case it isn't obvious (and since no-one else has mentioned it yet, I guess it's not), Tom Wheeler was a huge lobbyist for the very people who are trying to end net neutrality.

I don't get calling for X then performing actions that negate X.

Edit: there's another front-page story to Bloomberg that actually explicitly mentions the Tom Wheeler connection: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-10/obama-calls-for-reg...

stephengoodwin 9 days ago 1 reply      
The current Chairman for the FCC is Tom Wheeler. He is a former lobbyist for two telecommunications associations:

* National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) (from 1976 to 1984, becoming president in 1979)[1]

* Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) (from 1992 to 2004, serving as CEO)[1]

[1] http://www.fcc.gov/leadership/tom-wheeler

mbrubeck 8 days ago 0 replies      
This is very similar to Mozilla's proposal to the FCC last spring: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/05/mozilla-offers-fc...

Mozilla: "The petition calls on the FCC to designate last-mile delivery of edge provider communications as remote delivery services, and as telecommunications services under Title II of the Communications Act."

Obama: "I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act."

pvnick 9 days ago 2 replies      
Yes, let's give the government control to dictate how we may use the most powerful system for free-speech and keeping governments/corporations in check that has ever existed in all of human history. Despite the US government's insistence and profound ability to commandeer the internet for military/spying uses, I'm sure this time they will act in our best interests...

And I know the control Obama's saying he wants the FCC to exert over the internet does not yet appear directly tied to the NSA, but after the past year of Snowden revelations I just want the government to keep the hell as far away from technology as possible. Because the only way this policy becomes politically feasible is when there's a way net neutrality could somehow be perverted to weaken the internet's ability to shine light on corruption.

crazy1van 8 days ago 4 replies      
First, let me say that my local ISPs have left a lot to be desired. Comcast and Verizon have driven me crazy in the past. But making them a utility scares me. As bad as my ISPs have been, looking back 15 years, I was on a 56k modem. Now I have 50 mbps broadband. When I look at other utilities like power and water, I've seen zero innovation and my bill continues to rise.

Something should be done, but I'd rather the focus be on removing barriers to more local competition by getting rid of ordinances that create a defacto monopoly by constricting access to utility poles and right-of-ways. When Verizon offered fios to my area, overnight comcast dropped their prices and then raised their speeds significantly. I want more of that.

DominikR 9 days ago 1 reply      
His administration literally started the process that will ultimately be the end of the open internet in the next few years.

Now everybody is working on a national/regional "Internet", even the EU is going the first steps into this direction.

Him calling for open and free Internet is absolutely bizarre. Who knows, maybe he'll call tomorrow for the end of torture and drone executions without trial.

gorhill 9 days ago 0 replies      
> "Regulating Internet Like Phone Companies"

There is this other headline which came to my mind when I read the above headline: "Retroactive Amnesty for Telecoms".


tjaerv 9 days ago 3 replies      
Because that worked so well with the phone companies.
sejje 9 days ago 1 reply      
This headline is in such stark contrast to the other, which reads "President Obama calls for a free and open internet."

Which reads more like the actual intent?

Edit: The two submissions got merged, so my comment is now outdated.

bko 9 days ago 4 replies      
I don't think I fully understand the argument for net neutrality. I try to think about it from a few different perspectives:

Broadband intensive services like Netflix:I think a problem that they face is that their connection is often slow, not only intentionally, but also because developing infrastructure is expensive. Why would an ISP bother building out the infrastructure if they can't extract a higher value from those that it most benefits (Netflix)? In fact, Netflix thinks it's worth it to pay Comcast directly. If that was not beneficial, I don't see why Netflix would have done so. Sure, they would probably prefer to get that service for free, but it must be mutually beneficial for both parties to go along. If Netflix were not allowed to make sure a deal with a company like Comcast, would that really benefit anyone?

Smaller Websites:There is the risk that ISPs try extracting a toll but I think it may not be worth it a lot of the time for the ISP. I think this fear is overblown, although I could be wrong.

Consumers that don't use broadband extensive services:Why should those consumers be subsidizing those that use broadband heavy services?

Consumers using broadband extensive services:Why should Netflix not be allowed to help subsidize the cost of providing broadband? Why should this fall solely on the individual?

Government:The obvious concerns of more governmental control of the internet.

I could imagine a scenario where Netflix was not allowed to pay Comcast directly for increased bandwidth. Instead, Netflix would spend that money to lobby politicians to force Comcast to build out their infrastructure. I don't see how that's a better scenario than currently exists.

I think a better solution to very little competition in ISPs would be to decrease the barriers it takes to compete. Further regulation would only increase the barriers.

Netflix paying Comcast:http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/04/after-...

Starting an ISP is Really Hard:http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/04/one-big-reason-we-la...

baldfat 9 days ago 2 replies      
Have ZERO understanding how the Republicans are going to hold off on Anti-Net Neutrality. I am sure this is something that Libertarians will fight tooth and nail and well I would say over 12% of currently republicans labeled themselves as such. With 30 congressmen in the House Liberty Caucus things are not so easy for the G.O.P.

I feel that there is a strong likely hood that G.O.P. will have a switch for Net Neutrality once they see that this policy has such a strong vocal majority.

binarray2000 9 days ago 1 reply      
1. Net neutrality (NN) is of essential importance for the free Internet, now and in the future.

2. Barack Obama (BO) can "call for" many things, but after the latest elections he cannot do much. Even if he, personally and as a POTUS, would want to do something to protect NN.

3. If you hope GOP will do something about it... well, harsh reality is this: Republicans will do what corporate interest wants them to do. Democrats (along with BO) were doing the same. Now that GOP has the majority in both the congress and the senate they MIGHT pay lip service to the issue, but, nothing will change in essence.

4. Maybe you think/hope, people will go out on the streets, write petitions, fight for NN. If recent history teaches us something it's this: Snowden revelations didn't move much US citizens on to the streets. And, compared to NN, it was a larger issue.

(Hope for a better world is something to strive for, but after all these years, I've realized that there is only one reality: Interest. And Big Money has a lot of it to fight NN)

higherpurpose 9 days ago 6 replies      
Since I have zero trust in Obama these days, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop - or to see what's Obama's angle in this. Is he doing it because he already knows a Republican-backed Congress and FCC have already made up their minds against net neutrality - and he just wants to be remembered that "he tried"?

Or is he supporting full net neutrality because that would give the government much more control over the Internet?

Either way I don't think he's doing this because "he cares". Whatever his angle/hidden agenda, it's probably a bad one for us.

pconner 9 days ago 0 replies      
This proposition (implementation of some of the regulations required for telecommunication services under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934) is taken directly from a notice published by the FCC in 2010


It has been argued previously that the FCC lacks the authority to reclassify Title II common carrier, and that such a reclassification could actually be damaging


forrestthewoods 9 days ago 0 replies      
"So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect."

Does that work? Is that implementable and/or good? Isn't peering a pretty reasonable thing to do in a lot of cases?

ajcarpy2005 8 days ago 0 replies      
>And then you encounter things like this by Senator Ted Cruz:

The biggest regulatory threat to the Internet is "net neutrality."

In short, net neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet. It puts the government in charge of determining Internet pricing, terms of service, and what types of products and services can be delivered, leading to fewer choices, fewer opportunities, and higher prices for consumers.

The Internet should not operate at the speed of government

>How does one even begin to engage with people that find this in any way intellectually valid?

>It doesn't even make sense and yet I have family that shares his status.

daveloyall 8 days ago 0 replies      
What do these statements mean, specifically parts I've marked?

> To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services.


> If the FCC appropriately forbears from the Title II regulations that are not needed to implement the principles above principles that most ISPs have followed for years it will help ensure new rules are consistent with incentives for further investment in the infrastructure of the Internet.

vegancap 9 days ago 0 replies      
He presided over some of the worst breeches of data privacy in contemporary political history, how exactly does he expect anyone to trust him? Would he have made these bold statements, had he not have been found out?
quakershake 8 days ago 0 replies      
Why should we care about what the POTUS has to say about internet freedom? It's not like the POTUS or politicians in general have a good track record of trustworthiness.

IMO, anytime officials are talking about it, they are guaranteed to screw it up.

I am actually surprised that they aren't talking more about having it be $Free and under government control. Maybe that is step 2.

Either way, the less authority the ISPs and the Government have over your network traffic the better.

davidholmesnyc 8 days ago 0 replies      
This is a good thing everybody. Lets see what happens going forward.
mfisher87 8 days ago 2 replies      
Do NOT be fooled. An explicit ban on paid prioritization is the only way to preserve the system we have today. If you allow paid prioritization, there will no longer be a "vibrant" tech sector (as we think of it today) in the US. If you only ban paid prioritization, ISPs will continue to hold monopolies, price-fix, offer inferior service, not invest in their infrastructure, and fuck over their customers with fraudulent charges. But, hey, Netflix will stay in business, so all's well, right?!

The goal with this move is to AVOID common carriers and AVOID competition. Paid prioritization is a minor symptom of the problem that ISPs are not common carriers. I say this because without common carriers, if the only ISP has paid prioritization, a there is no competitor to switch to. Banning paid prioritization will do nothing to address the actual problems with American ISPs. Our cable lobbyists and therefore our government will do anything to avoid common carrier legislation being passed.

Common carriers would not be allowed to control the content on their wires at all -- they would be forced to let ISPs purchase bandwidth and compete on the same wire. Granting wire ownership and content control to one company is a natural monopoly: In almost every locale new ISPs cannot use the wires someone else owns, new ISPs cannot dig trenches for new wires, and new ISPs have no common wires to offer service on. Therefore, no new ISPs can form under normal conditions, and competition cannot exist. The only logical conclusion is that we are being denied a free market, on purpose.

em3rgent0rdr 7 days ago 0 replies      
Obama's comment "and the content is legal" comes the same day we hear the government seizes TOR nodes: http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/11/law-enforcement-seiz...
diminoten 9 days ago 2 replies      
I'm glad the president is giving a hoot about this issue, because it's an issue I care deeply about and follow closely.

That said, I'm still not convinced a "no slow lanes" policy is possible. Peering is a huge part of the Internet, and without it, the Internet doesn't work. Paid peering is a private network owner's right to ask for, and it's every other person's right to deny.

misingnoglic 8 days ago 1 reply      
I know nothing about politics, but my guess is that this is a reaction to the majority republican house/senate. There's no way in hell a bill like this can be passed through congress (with all the special interests and whatnot), so by being at the front of this movement which is important to so many people, they'll opt to blame the republicans (who are now in charge).
doctorshady 8 days ago 0 replies      
This is almost a little sad. Even on HN, a discussion about net neutrality seems to be devolving into a discussion of partisan politics.
JediWing 8 days ago 0 replies      
This is huge. The head of the executive branch just telegraphed one of his appointees that nothing less than Title II would meet his mark, at a time when the rule making process is in full swing. I think people need to dial back the cynicism a few notches. Call me overly optimistic,We could have true net neutrality within the next few years.
drawkbox 8 days ago 0 replies      
I hope this isn't just hope and words, Obama needs to make this his legacy issue.

No segregation or discrimination online. There are no fast lanes, only slow lanes and tolls roads in our future if this isn't preserved. The internet is one last place of freedom in the US, don't turn it into a class/caste based system.

jflatow 8 days ago 0 replies      
There's a lot of confusion about net neutrality and regulation of the internet at large.

I'd love to see a poll of the HN community to see the distribution of support, amongst what should be a relatively knowledgable group of people. Unfortunately I don't have enough karma to create it myself.

SergeyB 8 days ago 0 replies      
Getting rid of 'throttling' and 'extra fees' not a bad idea. However, "Free and Open" is a way off. "New ISP Regulations for Internet Access" would be closer to reality. I am sure they will slip in some shady unconstitutional Section in the new Law as they always do.
BatFastard 8 days ago 0 replies      
This was a positive statement on an issue we all feel strongly about. Don't listen to all the B.S about the president being a "lame duck", he is still the most powerful man in the world. So give credit where credit is due. And stop listening to all the negative B.S.
dschiptsov 8 days ago 0 replies      
..while all the major manufacturers of network equipment are trying their best to implement and even standardize logging, tracking, data collecting and traffic filtering "features" requested by governments of different countries, including US.
MarkMc 8 days ago 2 replies      
Can a net neutrality advocate please help me understand why the internet is different to physical roads and bridges?

UPS and FedEx are free to charge a different price when delivering a package from Amazon.com compared to Walmart.com.

So why should an internet service provide be prevented from charging a different price for delivering data from Amazon.com compared to Walmart.com?

Is it simply a case of there not being enough competition between internet service providers? If so, should net neutrality still be required in areas where there IS competition? For example, where I live in Australia I can get a 4G mobile data plan from any of 3 different providers (Telstra, Optus and Vodafone). Competition between them seems very effective, so is there really a need to require net neutrality in this case?

bengrunfeld 8 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, and then he goes and signs an order expanding the permissions of the NSA and FBI to bypass constitutional rights and international law in the pursuit of being able to access and store private and confidential user data.
trvz 9 days ago 1 reply      
1) Him having to interfere against the bs of the ISPs makes me sad, as it's one more sign of the politicisation of the internet.

2) I welcome Obama being well advised, but he remains the spy master of the world.

sidcool 8 days ago 0 replies      
I am ready to vote for the President for a third term only on this policy stance. But again, I am from India so can't vote in the US and Presidents can't have a third term in the US.
NiftyFifty 8 days ago 0 replies      
Now if he can call for free and open travel to Cuba. Maybe we can have an open dialog about US influence on a country that might be more "open" if we shared our culture with them. Oh well ...
jaked89 8 days ago 0 replies      
"Free" and "neutral" can't co-exist."Free" means that the government controls it.This by itself implies that it's not neutral.


emjaygee 8 days ago 0 replies      
It's a trap! I want net neutrality as much as the next person but having the federal government oversee it like it oversees utilities is a cure far worse than the disease.
morky 8 days ago 0 replies      
Oh you mean the dude who has been persecuting journalists in a more aggressive manner than any previous president. Yeah trust him and his opinion.
cranklin 8 days ago 0 replies      
I think this statement is just a disclaimer by the president for what's to come. Does anybody truly believe that he's in favor of net neutrality?
vegancap 9 days ago 1 reply      
So on one hand he calls for state regulation of ISP's, yet on the other he calls for a "free and open" internet. So which is it to be?
transfire 8 days ago 0 replies      
If the FCC rules against Net Neutrality, there is only one thing to be done: All the network administrators in the country must band together and bring the Internet to a screeching halt. Neither the politicians, the lobbyists, nor the corporate suits have any idea how to keep these systems running. But all the system admins that do, they know full well what is at stake here. So I have no doubts about this. As long as all of the admins can organize in action, Net Neutrality will soon become the law.
mac01021 8 days ago 0 replies      
Is the proposed policy designed to fix problems that real people are having right now? If so, who is being blocked from what?
Selfcommit 8 days ago 0 replies      
How is Tom Wheeler not mentioned once in this article?

Is there not a direct connection between his appointment by Obama and this issue?

coupdejarnac 8 days ago 1 reply      
I'm going to see Sen. Cruz speak on Saturday. If I get the chance, I'll ask him about his net neutrality stance.
andyl 9 days ago 0 replies      
Should have had support for Net-Neutrality years ago. Nevertheless glad to see it now. I hope it makes a difference.
kolanos 8 days ago 0 replies      
Probably shouldn't have appointed a former Comcast exec as the head of the FCC, Barry.
aidenn0 8 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like he has just guaranteed that Title II won't happen; the Republicans just got elected on a platform that essentially boiled down to "We aren't Obama" and now control a majority of the legislature.
whoisthemachine 9 days ago 0 replies      
Obama supports it? Now this is DEFINITELY not going to happen.
mickrussom 8 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, one that he controls and regulates.
jjtheblunt 8 days ago 0 replies      
As usual, in the general case, President Obama verbs for a noun phrase. (Not that it's bad, just routine.)
Animats 8 days ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately, he's saying this at the point he has no chance of getting it through Congress.
graycat 8 days ago 1 reply      
On 'network neutrality', I'm lost: Someone please clear this up for me, say, with this 'scenario':

I pay my ISP for 15 Mbps download bandwidth, andsome Web site with video clips pays their ISP for10 Gbps upload bandwidth. So, I connect to thatWeb site and download or 'stream' a video clip.

Then the Web site better get their 1 Gbps upload bandwidth,if they want to send that much, and if they sendme 15 Mbps of video then I better get the full15 Mbps I paid for.

So, what's the role of 'fast lane', 'slow lane',the Web site paying my ISP for 'more', 'slow downs',etc.

Or as far as I can see, if I'm getting my 15 Mbps(from any Web site sending me that much)and the Web site is getting their 1 Gbps, everythingshould be okay. Otherwise, either my ISP or theWeb site's ISP is not delivering what they were paid for, and I have a tough time believing that thatwould be common.

I'm failing to see the opportunity for funny business.

Or, yes, if use the Internet as a video phone, thenthere could be issues of dropped packets, out of orderpackets, latency, jitter, etc. -- is that what the talk is about?

tn13 8 days ago 0 replies      
He is not calling for a free and open internet. He is essentially bringing it under government control by painting ISPs as bad guys.
fit2rule 9 days ago 1 reply      
This just provides more impetus for us to get out ahead of the government and implement the next-generation communication technologies that make it impossible for anyone to spy on us.. of course, if that happens, there'll be further battles upstream .. as well as a few submarine battles we probably don't know we have to fight, already, as advocates of peace and communication - but nevertheless the time has never been as ripe as it is now for the new shit to drop.

Question is, how? What? These are the sorts of answers we have to find. A DHT over a P2P with no central control? It still seems so out of reach ..

tn13 8 days ago 0 replies      
The usual horror of the phrase

"I am from government and I am here to fix things for you".

Now, the government is in-charge of how we consume internet. This is bad and very bad. I cant see any scenario where this would be good for us. Expect the prices to go up and service to go down.

tn13 8 days ago 0 replies      
The usual political propaganda where a politician pretends to be "champion of freedom" while doing something that is exactly opposite. (In past he had described Tax Cuts as Tax Subsidies, implying all money belongs to government by default).

Here is the more relevant part

"In a letter and a video posted on the White House website, President Obama said he believes "the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act," allowing Internet Service Providers to be more heavily regulated. According to Obama, the change would acknowledge that "the Internet has become an essential part of everyday communication and everyday life."

This basically would mean government will now have a much bigger control over how new players enter this space and how they operate and how much profit they can make. When was the last time you heard PG&E doing something innovative ?

The real problem with net-neutrality has not been that the operators are bad. The real problem is existing government regulation does not facilitate entry of new players. More government regulation would only mean slowing down of innovative services like Google Fiber or SpaceX's internet satellites.

This sort of regulation would destroy the internet as we know it and will give more control to Government as to how we consume internet.

notastartup 8 days ago 0 replies      
Free and Open Internet Vouched by NSA
dang 8 days ago 0 replies      
byEngineer 8 days ago 0 replies      
screwed up medicare. screwed up with russia. screwed up with Iraq. Time to screw up the internet!
aosmith 8 days ago 0 replies      
Hahahah this is laughable...
Cr3w 9 days ago 1 reply      
"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." Ronald Reagan
yc1010 8 days ago 0 replies      
"... Obama asked for no blocking of websites ..."

So no blocking of torrent sites? yeh as if thats going to happen, rolls eyes

antocv 9 days ago 2 replies      
What an asshole.

It was under his Presidency that NSA expanded their programs.

WhatsApp Co-Founder Donates $1M to FreeBSD Foundation
1220 points by swills  1 day ago   200 comments top 21
tiffanyh 1 day ago 13 replies      
From the announcement:

>>"This marks the largest single donation to the Foundation since its inception almost 15 years ago"

First, I'm extremely excited to see this announcement. FreeBSD is fantastic and extremely underrated.

Secondly though, isn't it sad to hear that in FreeBSD existence - this is the largest donation ever ... given that Yahoo use to run it's entire company on it, OS X is based on it, Juniper is based on it, Netflix deploys on it, NetApp, EMC, etc.

Edit: typo

datashovel 1 day ago 2 replies      
While donations from corporations is great, my hope is that developers will jump on the micro-payment bandwagon. If every developer who uses FreeBSD in one capacity or another donated $1 per month, the FreeBSD Foundation would likely never need to ask for donations again.

I currently do quarterly donations to FreeBSD Foundation and Apache Foundation, and some hand-picked developers in the technologies I use regularly, whom I would consider indispensable in the open source community. While it's not $1M, if everyone were doing it, none of those groups would depend on corporate donations.

I have even thought of a project that I may bring to life one day, if enough interest exists. Find the most indispensable members of the open source community and put crowdfunding efforts together to buy them out. In other words, put enough money on the table that they won't need to work for 1,2,3 years at a time. Working tirelessly on open source projects is something these people have already proven they love to do, and will almost certainly continue if suddenly they came across a windfall like this.

My guess is these kinds of things have been attempted, but for one reason or another have never really gained the support they would need.

ChuckMcM 1 day ago 2 replies      
Nice move. I think it is awesome when folks do that.

Has anyone thought what an 'opensource' endowment might look like? I'm thinking an endowment manager and a policy for distributing 2% of the endowment annually to folks who contribute and against costs (like hosting repos and mailing lists etc.) The thought being you end up with some "project" with a $100M - $250M endowment and it operates 'in perpetuity' on a budget of $2 - $5M annually.

debacle 1 day ago 3 replies      
It's always intriguing to me how critical the BSDs and BSD programmers are to the Linux ecosystem, even though their user base is fairly small.
epistasis 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Find out more about Jan's reasons for donating here. https://www.facebook.com/jan.koum?fref=nf&pnref=story

That page is inaccessible to me, does somebody have a mirror?

drawkbox 1 day ago 1 reply      
A great example to others who have success because of open source. It should be a common thing that once you find the coveted golden parachute in the sprawling game of life, you give a percentage back to OSS as a tradition to others on the adventure.
lamby 1 day ago 3 replies      
Good grief, that's a statement. And bravo.

(However, what can they really do with that money? Operating systems aren't the sexiest of free software projects to work on, so I would be tempted to think that manpower is FreeBSDs biggest limiter.)

dummyfellow 1 day ago 0 replies      
Companies like Facebook, Google should give 100$ to each employee to donate, will be petty cash for them, but will reach many project the company is really benefiting from.
vayarajesh 1 day ago 0 replies      
>> "This marks the largest single donation to the Foundation since its inception almost 15 years ago"

Al though it is awesome that they have received this donation but it is such a shame it took 15 years to get a $1M donation for such a great work they are doing.. and on the other side silly small apps get millions of funding which go in total waste and those apps might be using FreeBSD for their production servers or development

Its nice to see FreeBSD getting appreciated

otterley 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks like the mantle has passed from Yahoo! being FreeBSD's biggest advocate and sponsor (not in direct cash donations, but employing their maintainers) to WhatsApp. Nice to see the Y! alumni are keeping the tradition alive.
jason_slack 1 day ago 0 replies      
This inspires me to give FreeBSD another shot. I haven't used it in a few years in favor of CentOS.

There was a point I had my laptop running FreeBSD as my main OS.

jaxx345 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why don't other large companies also contribute to FreeBSD? I know Netflix is a large consumer. It seems they would want to contribute more.
sandGorgon 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are lots of comments on how sad it is that nobody donates to the FreeBSD foundation.

Part of the blame lies with the foundation itself - they don't know how to ask! Fundraising is a full time, yet unsexy job...and very few people do it well. The key thing is to be top of mind by asking frequently and nicely.

Personally, when the time comes, I default towards Wikipedia because Jimmy Wales does a great job of asking. This is a problem not just with FreeBSD, but many others like OpenSSL,etc. If nothing else, I wish these guys just run a yearly kickstarter just for outreach.

Siecje 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting that he got more value out of FreeBSD (Job at Yahoo!) than Erlang.
jmiller_com 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is great news.

People bashing other companies, keep in mind some of them employ people that work near full-time on FreeBSD.

But, some deserve the bashing.

FractalNerve 1 day ago 0 replies      
What will they do with that huge amount of much money?

Personally: I hope they make an UI to FreeBSD on par with OS X, because it already seems to be so stable that no change except security fixes is neccessary in my nave eyes

Sorry, if this was asked before.

vidoc 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wonder how much money a million dollar for this guy would be for me.. I'm thinking it should probably be in the neighborhood of $.10

Either way, brilliant business plan from this whatsapp co-founder :P

pnathan 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Congratulations to FreeBSD; mad props to WhatsApp's founder.
jaxx345 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm really excited to see the community gain more traction, especially financially right now.
rodgerd 1 day ago 0 replies      
pessimizer 1 day ago 2 replies      
"With this donation, and the generosity of all those who have donated this year, we have shattered our 2014, million dollar fundraising goal! But this does not mean we can stop our fundraising efforts. Only by increasing the size and diversity of our donor pool can we ensure a stable and consistent funding stream to support the FreeBSD project."

Is this very, very dry humor?


So nobody thinks that there's anything funny about reaching a million dollar fundraising goal, but noting that they might want to expand the size and diversity of the donor pool in future after getting a million dollar donation from a single person.

Of course they reached the goal, and of course they might want to raise the size of the donor pool it took to reach the goal [one person] and the diversity [the donors that put them over the top all have the same Social Security number.]

Feel free to interpret the comment as "why donate to them, they just got a million dollars" or whatever bizarre impression people are getting, but if I meant that, I would have just said that.

Philae has landed
1162 points by talltofu  7 days ago   299 comments top 28
kartikkumar 6 days ago 8 replies      
Absolutely stunning feat of engineering. My bosses are on the drill team for Philae and were amongst the nervy faces being beamed all over the world. Great example of what European nations can do when politics don't get in the way. ExoMars [1] and Bepi-Colombo [2] are perfect examples of the inverse.

Look forward to the first pictures from the surface. I'm at the Division on Planetary Sciences (DPS) meeting [3] in Tucson at the moment, and there are already incredible results being presented based on data acquired by Rosetta. Stay tuned for a whole lot more!

[1] http://exploration.esa.int/mars/46048-programme-overview

[2] http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/BepiColombo_...

[3] http://aas.org/meetings/dps46

bd 6 days ago 0 replies      
First images from Philae's ROLIS camera:


1) 3km above comet:


2) Few seconds before landing:


3) First surface image?


4) Possibly a new image from the descent?


Edit: no, here is the source (Rosetta's NavCam from yesterday):



Rosetta Lander Imaging System (ROLIS)


sktrdie 6 days ago 2 replies      

  More analysis of @Philae2014 telemetry   indicates harpoons did not fire as 1st thought
Ouch, seems like it didn't land? https://twitter.com/esaoperations/status/532575061543485440

edit - the landing is confirmed, however the harpoons did not fire: https://twitter.com/ESA_Rosetta/status/532579871202238464

bsaul 6 days ago 9 replies      
Anyone knows where i could find some info about the software stack this kind of probes are being built with ? Languages, programming methods, patching methods,os, runtime, etc.

I'm really curious to know how different it is from the web or enterprise development worlds.

the_rosentotter 6 days ago 2 replies      
Coverage of this has been very confusing.

The ESA live feed at most times show people in some kind of control room staring at screens. There is no apparent way to see any highlights, unless I want to try scrolling back and forth through the hour-long video stream.

At any given time, various forum threads seem to have more information than the ESA site, which seems to communicate mostly through either lighthearted tweets, one-line headlines, or general background articles.

All I want is a simple timeline of events, constantly updated with latest news and images. Instead we have forum threads where you have to dig through comments to find out what is the newest info.

ajuc 6 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, I listen to the solutions they invented to hibernate the probe safely - to save on the electricity they had to hibernate it, but then it could have change orientation relative to sun, and wouldn't have enough energy to wake up.

So they disabled the orientation system to save energy, but first they made the probe rotate quickly to stabilise it like a gyroscope.

That's stuff from sci-fi books / Mc Gyver movie :)

spdy 6 days ago 2 replies      
For anyone who wants to see how they got there


pretty mind blowing for me to plan ahead 10 years

talltofu 6 days ago 2 replies      
Live streaming of the event here http://news.yahoo.com/video/abc-news-plus-special-report-220...

Thanks @brianpgordon - Check out this gif of the orbital maneuvers required for Rosetta to reach its destination:https://i.imgur.com/TUkKuhf.gif

Live twitter feed of ESA https://twitter.com/esaoperations

It looks like @Philae2014 made a fairly gentle touch down on #67P based on amount of landing gear damping #CometLanding

k-mcgrady 6 days ago 17 replies      
Amazing job! This might be a silly question but are their any ideas as to the actual real world benefits we could see from this? The director-general of the ESA said "This is a big step for human civilisation" so I presume there is some idea of what they expect to gain from this mission?

Edit: Thanks for all the replies! I'm at work now but will take a look at them this evening.

humanfromearth 6 days ago 0 replies      
I highly recommend this video that explains how Philae works:


Killah911 6 days ago 0 replies      
It is just me or has the story evolved into something a bit less jubilant in the course of the last two hours. It's an amazing feat, but this stuff is always a huge gamble.

As someone's who's worked on a few spacecraft project I feel really bad for the team(s) (recently worked on one which didn't go so well, years of work down the tube). Even if it didn't go perfectly I hope they're commended for the work they've done so far & the landing they achieved.

neiled 6 days ago 1 reply      
Seeing their faces on the live feed when it landed was amazing. It must be so exciting.
anExcitedBeast 6 days ago 0 replies      
Science is amazing. I'm glad to be living in a period where I get to be around for stuff like this.
adregan 6 days ago 4 replies      
Hope this isn't a dumb question, but how does Philae stay put? If the gravity strong enough to keep it on the surface? Also, as the comet nears the sun and parts of the comet start flying off, is there a threat of Philae getting swept along with it?
FlyingSnake 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is an incredible day for science and Humanity. ESA, CNSA, ISRO, SpaceX etc have done a great job so far to carry forward the legacy of NASA and ROSCOSMOS to new levels.

Still can't believe ESA planned and landed a robot on a comet. Bravo!

rabino 6 days ago 2 replies      
we just landed a friggin' robot into a friggin' commet

mind blowing

jmccreery 6 days ago 0 replies      
No announcement yet, but just now in the ESA webcast of the control room everyone stopped, gathered around a guy that I assume is the team lead, and are now going home. I have a bad feeling about this.
jnem 6 days ago 0 replies      
Total non-sequitor but...I'm surprised no one else has yet made the observation that Philae Lander put together is philaender, or philander. Juvenile post of the day award anybody?
ommunist 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is huge. In both technical and political ways. And bringing all the details into live online event is twice as huge. I just watched the guy reporting the unsuccessful initial anchoring of the probe, and I felt so happy that I could see this. Incredible. By the way the lander software runs on Harris RTX2010 processors -- the US contribution.
shitlord 6 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome! Think of all the nice desktop backgrounds I'm going to have.

I am wondering what this will mean for humanity. Do you guys think the insights we gain from Philae will be as impactful as the ones from other space missions?

rodolphoarruda 6 days ago 0 replies      
"Philae has made the first, historic landing on a comet, after descending from its mothership"

To me, no other statement could be more impacting. Earth is finally sending motherships to space. feeling mind-boggled

india_congrats 6 days ago 7 replies      
Congratulations Europe. But why don't we hear people saying that the EU should focus on their poverty first and would be better off putting this money into getting the Greece, Spain, and Italy economies in order?
apa-sl 6 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome! Launched over 10 years ago (our "smartphones" back then had 1mpix cameras, youtube was not born yet, etc), travelled +6,5b km and nailed a target 3-4km wide...
Sven7 6 days ago 0 replies      
Big congrats to all involved! What an achievement!
jarmitage 6 days ago 0 replies      
Three.js version of the comet http://cabbi.bo/rosetta/
Gravityloss 6 days ago 2 replies      
"where were you when Philae landed?"
JulianMorrison 6 days ago 0 replies      
First successful unintended lithobraking in the history of space ;-P
pbhjpbhj 6 days ago 1 reply      
ITT downvoting to invisibility because you disagree with someone honestly held and cogently expressed opinions.

Silencing diverse opinions is quite possibly the worst facet of HN.

Firefox Developer Edition
974 points by tazer  9 days ago   295 comments top 76
callahad 9 days ago 49 replies      
Hi! Just a heads up that folks from the dev tools team will be monitoring this thread and are on-hand to answer questions. We'll try not to thread sit too much. :) In brief, the Developer Edition is a new release channel for Firefox, replacing Aurora (our pre-Beta channel). Everything else about the release cadence is the same.

There are four major new features here:

1. The Firefox Tools Adapter ("Valence"), which lets you use the Firefox dev tools to inspect and debug pages in Chrome for Android and Safari for iOS. The goal: one set of tools to debug any browser.

2. Side-by-side profiles. The Developer Edition defaults to a profile named `dev-edition-default`, which makes it easier to run Developer Edition at the same time as a normal release version of Firefox. You don't have to deal with the profile switcher each time.

3. Developer-friendly defaults. Developer Edition ships with things like remote debugging and browser-chrome debugging enabled by default.

4. And, for all of you who hated Australis, a compact theme with square tabs.

But those are just consequences of the single biggest change:

5. We have a new channel, which new rules. And we want to use it to build the best possible browser for web developers. We can ship new tools that aren't yet ready for the Beta channel, and we can change the browser's appearance and defaults specifically for web developers.

We'll be watching this thread during launch, but you can always submit feature requests on UserVoice. The right people will see them: https://ffdevtools.uservoice.com/forums/246087-firefox-devel...

This isn't a finished product. It's an invitation.

What tools do you need?

Walkman 9 days ago 0 replies      
Angelina Fabbro introduced this tool on a Web developer conference in Hungary [1] a couple of days ago. Here is a short summary as far as I can recall:

- a couple of decades ago alert() was used by pretty much everybody for debugging, even her :) [2]

- most of the developers use(d|s) Chrome for web development

- this is the first serious dedicated tool for web developers which is not just a browser plugin

you don't have to close a million tabs during development

- they worked together with the Firebug team, there will be no duplicate functionality in the plugin and the browser

- seamless Firebug integration. You can switch between Firebug and default theme, it will not break your workflow

- NOT a new browser which you have to support, same engine as in Firefox, nothing new or special about it

- multiple profiles

- developer friendly default settings like enabled experimental CSS features, etc.

- UX improvements for changing config, like switches for features, so you don't have to dig about:config

- support debugging Android, even the iOS simulator or attached device real time

- the dev team is really looking for feedback, they want to make web developers' life easier and put in features based on feedback

- there will be no built in REST API tester tool like Postman REST Client at first, but I was not the first dev who asked for it, so they will consider it for sure

- it will replace the firefox dev channel

- themeable

- much stable than nightly, but you can try out experimental browser features, so it's a good compromise

[1]: http://instagram.com/p/vIiNp_vRXD/

[2]: https://twitter.com/hopefulcyborg/status/530033632636055552

tbassetto 9 days ago 2 replies      
I think it really should not prompt to be the default browser when you launch it (and maybe never show this prompt like Chrome Canary).

A colleague had a weird race condition (I guess) with this prompt + the "how-to" overlays and Firefox Developer Edition stopped responding to clicks 3 seconds after launching it

Kudos for using a different profile than the classic Firefox/Nightly :)

realusername 9 days ago 1 reply      
I'm taking advantage of the fact that there's a few Mozilla developers around to say a big thank you to the team.

I've never used most of the features of the developer edition except the console and everything is great on this developer edition.

I'm a proud owner of a Firefox OS phone and the simulator is really good and fast, I think I'm going to make an app or two during my spare time !

A big thank you to all the team for your great work !

grk 9 days ago 4 replies      
For those not liking the dark UI, you can switch by opening the dev tools, clicking the gear icon on the right and selecting "light theme".
nickpresta 9 days ago 1 reply      
If a member of the dev tools team is watching, when first launching Firefox Developer Edition, I get a modal on top of a modal:


This wouldn't be a problem usually (although strange) but I have to click the partially hidden box under the top most box to dismiss anything.

jekrb 9 days ago 0 replies      
There's no need to download this if you're already running firefox aurora. Just update and you'll find that firefox aurora is now firefox developer.
zenocon 9 days ago 1 reply      
Doesn't look like I can debug websockets? Chrome's network tab allows you to see websocket frames, but you have to navigate away from it and back to it again to refresh it -- which is a pain.

I'm not seeing where/how to view frames in the network tab here, but perhaps I missed it?

rdebeasi 9 days ago 3 replies      
Exciting stuff! If you're already on Aurora, when you auto-update to developer edition, you'll switch over to the new dev profile and your bookmarks and settings will be gone. You can get at those by opening the profile manager and switching back to the default profile, or by using a stable version of Firefox.


andyfleming 8 days ago 0 replies      
It would be great to see something like JSON View be built in.


(There could be an option to disable "automatic JSON formatting" for those who don't like it for whatever reason)

kolme 8 days ago 0 replies      
I have a few problems with this.

First, using a browser which includes fancy experimental features might result in the page looking or behaving differently in the users' (stable) browsers. I see this as kind of risky, that's why I usually develop against stable browsers and use the nightly/aurora for personal browsing.

Second, having browser-chrome debugging on by default is not very helpful for web developers, it actually gets in the way. It might be more useful to activate these features in the nightly channel, where people are more actively debugging the browser itself.

Third, if this channel is the intended one for developers, why ship the development tools with the stable release?

_jomo 9 days ago 1 reply      
If you don't like setting up your Browser again, you can go to about:preferences#general and uncheck Allow Firefox Developer Edition and Firefox to run at the same time

This will cause Firefox Dev to use the Firefox profile with all your settings and Addons.

tshadwell 9 days ago 2 replies      
I noticed the logo loads slowly and it actually loads a huge x1024 image https://mdn.mozillademos.org/files/9069/firefox-dev-ed_logo-...
Gracana 9 days ago 2 replies      
I noticed there's a checkbox for "make FirefoxDeveloperEdition my default browser," is that just a vestigial thing from the regular FF installer, or is it actually safe for me to use FFDE as my regular browser?
px1999 9 days ago 1 reply      
The developer tools are the only thing stopping me from switching back to FF from Chrome.

The tooling in Firefox does seem to be improving rapidly (kudos to the devs for that, I'm not trying to trivialise the hard work that they've been putting in, by any means), but there are still several basic(?) features missing from the script debugger. Calling this a "developer edition" is IMO a misnomer until you can reasonably use it to develop pages/sites/applications - currently every other major "not-for-developer edition" browser already gives you almost everything this does, and in some areas quite a bit more.

What would make it a developer browser to me:

* Folder grouping on resources

* Allowing webide or the script web tools tab to work with local folders (Chrome workspace equivalent)

* Dynamic updates to scripts (Chrome workspace/dev tools equivalent)

* The ability to open and/or display more than 1 script at a time. Tabs in developer tools should operate like browser tabs (orderable, poppable etc)

I hope that this isn't just a re-branding exercise - the video, site and fanfare make it sound like Mozilla's aiming to make something great for developers (not to mention that the FF tools are headed in the right direction), but the first release and associated posts/comments seem to indicate that it's essentially a nicer packaging of what used to be aurora.

timdorr 9 days ago 1 reply      
Here's the prettier link to download: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/developer/
fiatjaf 8 days ago 0 replies      
I've always used Chrome since I started developing, and I liked their Developer Tools. Since I switched to Firefox four months ago I've had a lot of trouble with FF DevTools:

* debugging is too slow (or my computer is weak, but Chrome DevTools run smoothly);* debugging is very slow;* the debugger has some unpredictable behavior, like stopping at all calls that lead to some error, when I expected it to stop at the error properly.

wkdown 9 days ago 0 replies      
For some reason, I convinced myself that Valence was going to allow us to change the engine to Webkit and Trident as well as Gecko. While testing iOS and Android is awesome, this would have been downright incredible.
KyleSanderson 8 days ago 2 replies      
Not to be the guy to bring this up again, but if this is targeted for development why are sessions still limited to consuming 2GB of memory? Why is nightly still the only branch with 64bit builds?
bigbango 8 days ago 1 reply      
For those who like me are wary of running unverified binaries:

- checksums: https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/nightly/late...

- signatures: https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/nightly/late...

- signing key: https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/lat...

edit: reformatting

2nd edit: added https

mariusmg 9 days ago 0 replies      
Is the theme available to use it with "regular" Firefox ?
tzgrish 8 days ago 0 replies      
Editing JavaScript functions on the fly is the main feature I hear devs complain about Firefox devtools (anecdotal). Chrome allows you to edit the JavaScript in the script tag which is amazingly intuitive. I realize editing variable values is possible while debugging, there are console commands and Scratchpad is neat, but it's not the same. Being able to edit the JS directly in the tab, save and see the changes on the page is a huge time saver.

I was able to find a firebug feature request with applicable bugzilla links: https://code.google.com/p/fbug/issues/detail?id=5083

Edit: changed reload to save

nartz 8 days ago 0 replies      
Firefox already does a lot - how about a website similar to 'RailsCasts' that takes different use cases and shows how to do them with FireFox plugins?

I think its important to differentiate different users / use cases, because 'Web Developer' is pretty broad.

bad_user 8 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, so Firefox's Preferences panel is being redesigned, or is this a "Developer Edition" thing? I like it - hopefully they'll also add searching capabilities. Yes, like in Chrome, that was a good design choice.

On the theme, I personally don't like dark themes for my browser. But I like that this theme is space efficient, so I hope to see an equivalent for the stable Firefox, as I for one would use it, but please make it light instead of dark :)

I do hope to see Electrolysis get some love. It's available in Nightly, but not in this developer preview. From what I understand, the next version (36) is the first version in which Electrolysis starts being moved between channels.

Anyway, great job.

blowski 9 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks! I've essentially been using a developer profile in Firefox for some time, but the OSX dock doesn't play well with profiles, so this makes things a lot easier.
hassanzaheer_ 9 days ago 1 reply      
I would really like to see a good javascript profiling tool in FF. Chrome has one but I think it can be improved upon.
robertschultz 8 days ago 0 replies      
Some of the same points other are bringing up.

1. HTTP Request Builder (i.e. Postman)2. Web Proxy3. Make the Web IDE for anything like Atom or SublimeText4. CSS media emulation

The release looks great, congratulation guys. Looking forward to the future of this model.

philo23 9 days ago 1 reply      
I managed to get this when downloading Firefox Aurora over the weekend while reinstalling my OS. I wasn't expecting the dark UI when I opened it. I personally found it a little garish and I couldn't immediately see a way to turn it off. Anyone know if there's a way to switch it back?
dschep 9 days ago 2 replies      
Will https://launchpad.net/~ubuntu-mozilla-daily/+archive/ubuntu/... switch to this new build or will there be a new PPA for Firefox Developer Edition?
daphneokeefe 9 days ago 2 replies      
Can I run this Dev Edition side-by-side with the regular version of Firefox, on the same machine?
kristopolous 8 days ago 0 replies      
I'm going to complain that it doesn't work on my tiling window manager. Usually I can't do this because I'm not the target audience.

But this time I am!!! So yeah, menu doesn't work in notion. There you go!

alwayslearning 7 days ago 0 replies      
Why all the negativity? It's an early release and a great idea, not to mention they're actively soliciting feedback and answering questions in the thread. Thanks for this, Mozilla!
sergiotapia 9 days ago 2 replies      
Unfortunately, I can't acces HackerNews with this new browser. Just a heads up to the team, liking the browser so far!

Secure Connection Failed

An error occurred during a connection to news.ycombinator.com. The OCSP response contains out-of-date information. (Error code: sec_error_ocsp_old_response)

    The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because the authenticity of the received data could not be verified.    Please contact the website owners to inform them of this problem.

JetSpiegel 9 days ago 3 replies      
Just a rebranding of Aurora, focused on developers?

I was expecting something more from all the fanfare.

Walkman 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here is the first talk about it by Angelina Fabbro if you are interested:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LPZMgRIXJc
rpwverheij 8 days ago 1 reply      
Just downloaded it and gave it a try. I've been using chrome for development for a long time and I must say this looks really good and I'd really like to switch cause I like the firefox image/mission much more. However I'm experiencing some problems editing my .less files directly from the browser. They don't show up in the list of style sheet files, even though I have "show original sources" checked. Where do I submit an issue for this?
alanh 8 days ago 1 reply      
The annoying experience of launching this for the first time: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8585522

Direct link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/f.cl.ly/items/2O3M10153r1h3A1P3T3T/...

groovecoder 9 days ago 0 replies      
BTW, there are also some sweet new demos at https://developer.mozilla.org/demos/
gear54rus 8 days ago 0 replies      
That's really cool. Big thanks to the team behind this!

The biggest feature for me was that it can run alongside the normal version of Firefox so I could tinker with it without disrupting day-to-day workflow.

Not like it's a big deal or anything, but it still shows a warning when you enter about:config even though it's targeted at devs :)

cavneb 9 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for making this available. Great job Mozilla!
Illniyar 9 days ago 1 reply      
I love firefox, but this looks like a simple rebranding of the experimental beta version.

If that version is going to be the same version that regular users get 12 weeks from now, it's hardly "tailored" for developers.

Though I'm assuming getting rid of "unstable beta" marker gets a whole new group of unknowing beta testers.

chrift 8 days ago 1 reply      
The only issue I have with the inspector tools in its current guise, is the fact you can't open an XHR request logged in the console in the network tab so you can view the nicer layout of parameters and stuff.

Which is really annoying and the main reason I stick with firebug.

Superia 7 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know if this belongs here, but my Aurora installation automatically replaced itself with Developer Edition, which would be fine if it did not also delete all history, bookmarks, saved passwords, plugins etc. Is there anyway to get that stuff back?
pherocity_ 9 days ago 1 reply      
Well, I'm getting a 404 when trying to download. I'm guessing the new toolset doesn't help with this?
anonfunction 8 days ago 1 reply      
What is this "hello" thing I see in the top right as the smiley chat icon? I've started a conversation, here's the link: https://hello.firefox.com/#call/fmX1j62g-P4
art-of-code 8 days ago 0 replies      
I honestly thought that Valence was a way to view renderings of the desktop versions of Chrome, Safari, Opera and IE within Firefox. Anyway, congratulations at the team at Mozilla for creating this. Can't wait to try the WebIDE for editing remote code.
lechevalierd3on 8 days ago 0 replies      
I get a kernel Panics when I move a fullscreen window from one screen to another one.If this can help https://gist.github.com/3on/cf6464e0ecb9f73aad6f
fpgeek 9 days ago 0 replies      
Is there an Android version? I can't find a download link when browsing from my Nexus 7.
sergiotapia 9 days ago 1 reply      
Just to clarify is this the tool they announced a few days ago with that small video?
gsam 8 days ago 0 replies      
Looking forward to see how much of a 'Web IDE' can actually be achieved. I continually feel like I should be making things in the browser, but there's no adequate editor still.
IanCal 8 days ago 0 replies      
Is it possible to create regular static websites using the webIDE? I couldn't find anything but it seems like everything is there to be able to do this.
mattfrommars 8 days ago 0 replies      
Please tell me there is a feature like in chrome when you do shift-esc. I really would like to see CPU usages in a browser a memory breakdown like about:memory
ecaron 9 days ago 0 replies      
zobzu 8 days ago 0 replies      
"you are using an outdated version of firefox"Sup mozilla im on freaking nightly - detection seem to need work :)
plainOldText 8 days ago 1 reply      
Why the black theme? I think that as developers/designers we should use environments which closely resemble that of the users we're creating for. Colors influence people's emotions, as well as how they perceive a specific design. Even if you are a designer, you're still a user; a user of your own creations. And when you change the mindset to that of a user, why not change the environment as well?

(just a thought)

pandog 9 days ago 1 reply      
Getting a 50kB/s download rate for the Linux bzip. If anyone's going to find that annoying, it's developers!
amelius 8 days ago 0 replies      
Does it support multiple browser profiles? Can I easily switch between Gecko/IE 8,9,10/Webkit/etcetera?
g4k 8 days ago 0 replies      
A key feature that is missing is having the option to open a private window with all extensions disabled.
GUNHED_158 9 days ago 1 reply      
So, Safari on iOS setup is only available for Linux and Mac users?!Is there any plan to support IE simulation?
cturhan 8 days ago 2 replies      
As it is developer edition, would you give us option to enable/disable CORS policy.
pimlottc 8 days ago 0 replies      
A little sad they didn't go with "Firefox Gold" for old time sake...
ganeshk 8 days ago 0 replies      
HI there i need full download file to install in my system how do I?
bmoresbest55 8 days ago 0 replies      
The download is taking so long! Apparently this is highly desired?
k__ 9 days ago 0 replies      
WebIDE isn't for normal web-apps?
fz7412 8 days ago 0 replies      
i can't install the firefox developer edition on ubuntu despite all efforts !
pluc 9 days ago 2 replies      
That's great. Now if everyone else could have an up-to-date, experimental-feature-activated browser, this would be useful.
geniium 8 days ago 0 replies      
Will see if that new version will bring us (web developer) anything helpful.
ganeshk 8 days ago 1 reply      
i need a full .exe file how do I get that?
SnaKeZ 9 days ago 1 reply      
esro360 8 days ago 0 replies      
why isnt firebug installed by default ?
abhishekkr541 8 days ago 0 replies      
Great for porn, I guess. :-/
mariusmg 9 days ago 1 reply      
WebIDE still feels like a toy for now. Very little customization for the text editor for now. Also the browser has a shiny new dark theme but the text editor doesn't seem to support themes (and has a light theme as default).
UncleCarbs 9 days ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one here

<insert image of Walter>

Who doesn't get how Dev Edition is different to normal firefox?

towelguy 9 days ago 3 replies      
Why emphatize on the download button that it is a "free download"? Maybe they'll add a payed option in the future?
dz0ny 9 days ago 2 replies      
They bundled theme otherwise all old stuff. I was at least expecting remote API, more UI fixes with dev tools.

/me Loves Chrome Dev tools, anything less is a waste of time...

warcode 9 days ago 2 replies      
Will this version survive months of usage with multiple open tabs without performance deteriorating massively like the regular firefox? I left FF after my 10th profile reset / reinstall to get back to "normal" performance.
Facebook Launches Flow, Static Type Checker for JavaScript
767 points by davemo  22 hours ago   257 comments top 49
DigitalSea 21 hours ago 4 replies      
What a great tool. Facebook are absolutely killing with the last year or so with all of their open source contributions and releases. First HHVM, Haxl, React.js (amongst other things) and now Flow, this is fantastic. I am really liking how companies like Facebook & Google are concentrating their efforts on the web language of the future: Javascript. The support for JSX alone is a MASSIVE feature (expected given React.js and JSX).

Good job Facebook.

ep103 20 hours ago 9 replies      
This looks like such a better step in the right direction than than the types of tools MS and Google have been putting out. Dynamically discerning the underlying code, and allowing optional type annotation works _with_ javascript, as opposed to attempting to turn js into a completely different (and weakened) language.

That said, I am curious what solutions this solves that isn't already solved by enforcing good code coverage. Full disclaimer, the largest js projects I've worked on were in the tens of thousands of lines, not hundreds of thousands, but type checking just seemed completely unnecessary provided a good coding guide and test coverage were maintained and enforced.

paulddraper 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Similar to the Google Closure Compiler (https://developers.google.com/closure/compiler/), which has been around for years, just with fewer features.

It has static type checking with optional type annotations and type inference.

It doesn't have compiler-time constants, dead code removal, inlining, or other optimizations.

But....still really cool.

slashnull 21 hours ago 4 replies      
At last!

This all seem extremely cool.

I went straight from hacking Scala and Haskell as a hobbyist to doing (mostly) front-end JS job, and I've always found that my code, and a lot of good libraries I read, naturally emulate something close to Hindley-Milner typing, by using objects as tuples/records and arrays as (hopefully well-typed) lists, as well as the natural flexibility of objects as a poor substitute for Either types.

I'm definitely pleased to see that the designers of this library have also realized that strongly-typed javascript was just a few annotations and a type inference algorithm away.

I'm just wondering why are nullable types inmplemented as such and not as a natural consequence of full sum types, which are inexplicably absent.

slashnull 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Another comment that just occurred to me: JavaScript becoming gradually typed is an interesting reflection of the recent history of the optimization of JavaScript interpreters, which consist of deducing where semantically dynamic objects behave like static class instances, then inlining the accessors and where beneficial, the "class methods", and specializing && JITing the semantically dynamic functions that almost always take as argument "instances" of this "class".

(ref this absolutely fascinating paper


and this piece of V8 dox quoting the aforementioned paper


It seems that adding a type system to a dynamic language has little real drawbacks compared to designing language and type system at the same time, for both performance and type safety considerations.

Bahamut 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Whatever people's thoughts on the language itself, JavaScript has built itself into a juggernaut in the amount of tooling available that fit into various opinions that developers can choose from. The number of large frameworks (in terms of popularity and usage) is not really found elsewhere. The number of smaller plugins are vast.

It helps that companies like Google and Facebook have invested a significant amount of research power into designing frameworks and tooling around it. Just from there two companies alone, we have tools like React, Angular, Karma, JSX, Jest, and now Flow. Tooling that involves the browser more include Polymer and Traceur (ES6 to ES5 transpiler).

To contrast this, I have been doing development with Cordova the past week & writing Cordova plugins to fill in missing functionality - the plugin ecosystem with Cordova is horrid, and the documentation is often awful. To compound it, Android developers don't seem to believe in documenting their libraries well.

I will take the JS ecosystem any day when confronted with a choice like that.

fdomig 21 hours ago 4 replies      
From my perspective, the static type checking is more or less the same as TypeScript's `--noImplicitAny` option as the first example on flowtype [1] shows, the same can be achieved with

    tsc --noImplicitAny hello.tsc
which will result in

    hello.ts(2,14): error TS7006: Parameter 'x' implicitly has an 'any' type.
I do not see much difference.

[1]: http://flowtype.org

drderidder 21 hours ago 7 replies      
Static analysis is definitely preferable to cross-compilation and this looks like a great tool. That said, the idea that static type checking makes developers more productive and prevents tons of errors is overstated imho. Type inference is supposed to make coding simpler and more productive (particularly in functional languages) - even C++11 has added it. I'm sure static type checking can benefit some organizations, but in my experience, type related errors are usually easy to find and fix and have rarely if ever been the root cause of our most difficult problems. Dynamic type checking and implicit conversion is one of the more powerful features of JavaScript and certainly no less prone to error or counter-productive than type-casting, making variadic functions or class templates are in other languages.
emmanueloga_ 4 hours ago 1 reply      
There's some tremendous effort being poured into making a crippled language like javascript usable, but when talking about solutions for maintainable frontend code, I'm more excited about compile-to-js languages like haxe [0], purescript [1] or ceylon [2].

The caveats I heard about transpilers often boil down to difficulty of debugging and lack of libraries. But with the amazing browser dev tools we have, debugging potential issues is not that painful. Every language compiling to js provides FFI and/or some escape hatch so you can write javascript manually, for performance tuning or for using 3rd party libs.

Even if you do write "raw" javascript, some sort of compile step is unavoidable, for running jshint, concatenating, minifying, etc. Why not walk the extra mile and use a better language?

BTW, I'm not saying a tool like this is not super-useful, specially if you already have thousands of lines of js code that you can't get rid of. Congrats to the Facebook team for the release!

0: http://haxe.org/

1: http://purescript.org/

2: http://ceylon-lang.org/

hippich 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Make sure to checkout http://ternjs.net/ too. It does not have types validation I believe, but it does many other things and in combination with eslint allows catching most errors before packaging.

Tern.js actually detect types, and may be it would be possible for eslint to incorporate it somehow to detect invalid use of types.

One big ternjs plus for me is the fact that tern.js knows about require.js modules and can look in other require'd files.

drapper 21 hours ago 4 replies      
How this compares to TypeScript? At the quick glance I noted:

- more powerful type system (union types, hurray)

- support for JSX

- no windows binaries

- supports more of ES6 stuff

- ...but has no support for modules yet

- no generics (??)

How about performance? and workflow? Didn't yet find this: does it use a normal "write then compile" model like TS or has something like Hack (if I'm not mistaken it has a daemon running in the background, checking the code as you write it).

Wonder why FB decided to roll this on instead of using TS.

mjackson 20 hours ago 2 replies      
This is HUGE!

Thanks to everyone at Facebook who worked on this. You guys are awesome.

Also: The fact that this is written primarily in OCaml (as opposed to JS) is an excellent example of people choosing the right tool for the job.

tadruj 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I really like how Facebook went about getting as much information about types as possible without the coderess, not forcing her to do unnecessary stuff. Behavior design on the code level at its finest.

And on the side note, I bet Facebook did this just to make nerds install OCaml and show them the light :)

chrisan 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Found a nice comparison of the various "things"(?) adding static typing to JS: http://www.2ality.com/2014/10/typed-javascript.html
leopoldfreeman 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Just tried it. Not good for projects depending heavily on 3rd party libs. I have to define all the interfaces in a 'interface file' to keep 'flow' silent. This seems an impossible job for our project.
sebastianconcpt 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Can someone explain in simple words what is the problem that this would fix? I've never felt the need for this, why should I care?
antoinelyset 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Flow seems to be close to a true application of type theory and is written in OCaml. Well done Facebook.
pgroves 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Does someone know how these types of projects come to fruition in a big company like Facebook? Are people working on them full time (with no other workload)? Do engineers build them on the weekend? How do they get 'funded'?
swalsh 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Question, in the doc it shows a code snipped that has the functioned defined as such "function foo(x: string)"

What mechanism ensures this becomes valid javascript? does the code need to be compiled?

hyp0 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Static types without performance benefits. So far, all popular static type systems have had the performance benefits, so it's unclear how much people value the other benefits (quality and documentation).

I wonder which will have the most impact: code quality or types as documentation (esp for tooling)?

They are adapting to common idioms, rather than designing it from the ground up. This ad hoc approach is a great way to build useful tools (and startups), but it's also usually a mess. Like NN4. But, they seem to be type experts - plus they're using ocaml. Maybe ad hoc by experts is the way to get these ideas adopted?

jenius 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I know it's very early, but just curious if anyone is working on a node binding for this, or if one exists already? Would love to try it out in our stack, but it would require a javascript interface.
hyp0 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This looks great, in typesystem/tooling/presentation, and sounds perfect for facebook; but for mainstream adoption, it needs to meet (or be closer to) the ideal of free-benefits:

(1) zero-work: works instantly with existing code and esp third party libraries; and

(2) instant-benefit: provides some compelling benefit in that zero-work case above (of course, it's OK if it provides more benefit if you do more work, adding type annotations etc).

pspeter3 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Does it support structural typing? That seems to be the strongest advantage of TypeScript.
kaonashi 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is what I wished Typescript was.

Looks really handy.

quest88 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Great work, no doubt.

My personal preference is to have annotations because it helps future readers and maintainers understand the code better. Instead of looking through the function to see that the variable is in-fact a number, I'd rather just read "@param x {number}". And at that point, one may as well as use closure.

gregwebs 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Even without the flow analysis and better typing, incremental compilation is a huge improvement over TypeScript, which re-parses type declarations on every compilation. That quickly leads to large compile times when you have type definitions for third-party components (even though you may only be using one definition in the file, the entire definition is parsed).

The existing available definitions from the DefinitelyTyped project is a huge productivity booster. Apparently Flow also has similar .d.flow files, but it will probably be a while until they exist for common projects.

void_star 20 hours ago 2 replies      
This is really cool. Does anyone have pointers to relevant papers that inspired/influenced their type system?
hyp0 10 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the authors of Flow offered to answer questions, but their comment is greyed out as a dupe (and it isn't a dupe - something went wrong):


davemo 21 hours ago 0 replies      
If you are interested in learning more about Flow check out the docs [1] and github repo [2].

[1] - http://flowtype.org/

[2] - https://github.com/facebook/flow

slackstation 19 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder, how does this compare to Google's Dart.js? Like Dart, it introduces a type system into JS and like Dart, it requires a compile step between Flow code and JS that will run in a browser. What does Flow do differently than Dart?
skybrian 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Apparently this is just type checking. It's not going to do any dead code removal like Closure Compiler in advanced mode or provide a better syntax like TypeScript. Whether that's good or bad depends on what you're looking for.
szx 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This might be a stupid question, but is there a way to leverage object annotations [1] for runtime checks of data coming from e.g. an API or FFI call (node.js module calling C++ code)?

[1] http://flowtype.org/docs/react-example.html#general-annotati...

eric_bullington 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Best tech news I've seen this year, in terms of potential to directly improve my workflow and my clients' applications.

I'm surprised I didn't hear more about this before since it was apparently unveiled at the "Flow" conference. Wasn't at the conference and somehow I missed any prior mention of it.

smartpants 8 hours ago 0 replies      
elwell 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Is the type syntax friendly with CoffeeScript?
alkonaut 20 hours ago 0 replies      
How does static checking work with dynamic types? Can the type checker figure out if a field/method exists on a type given that it can be added dynamically?

Edit: I assume it just checks bool/number/string and doesn't care about prototypes?

MrBuddyCasino 21 hours ago 2 replies      
That is quite impressive. No type annotations needed, and control flow is taken intro consideration (hence the name I guess).

If I am not mistaken, this tech could be used to build IDEs roughly similar to whats available for Java, couldn't it?

poxrud 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks like a great tool. The documentation at http://flowtype.org/ is excellent. Should be easy to add it to a Gulp/Grunt workflow.
phazelift 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Static? I use my own type-checking/enforcing lib as a base for everything I write in JS or CS (https://github.com/phazelift/types.js). It's only 1.8kb, dynamic and never fails on me.
applecore 19 hours ago 1 reply      
In terms of layering a static type system on top of JavaScript, how does this interact with Coffeescript and other languages that compile to JavaScript?
aikah 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm really curious about the accuarcy of that tool,really really curious given how javascript "types" work.
aliakhtar 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Or you can just use GWT which saves you from having to use javascript at all, and lets you write java (along with all its IDEs, type checking, code structure, and other benefits) which is compiled to highly efficient javascript: http://www.gwtproject.org/learnmore-sdk.html
szx 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome. FYI, the Language Reference Next/Back links don't match the order in the left navbar.
zghst 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Waiting for more ES6 support! I am spoiled by 6to5.
lechevalierd3on 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Has any one tried to make it work with a google closure code base?I am still trying.
dgreensp 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks nice. Is it written in ML?
debacle 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Man, I really want to work at Facebook. If only they didn't require relocation.
UnixHakr 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Very nice. I wonder how hard this would be to throw into Jasmine/QUnit type scenarios.
noobplusplus 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Who writes JS these days? Will it go with Angular/jQuery?
Help the Gnome Foundation Defend the Gnome Trademark Against Groupon
722 points by PaulSec  8 days ago   208 comments top 27
cs702 8 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, all evidence suggests that the team in charge of this at Groupon is acting in bad faith, trying to bulldoze over a non-profit with fewer financial resources. (I doubt Groupon would ever attempt something like this against a financially-well-backed brand such as, say, "Apple.")

Consider: (1) it's essentially impossible that no one involved had ever heard of the Gnome desktop (it's the top result when I search for "gnome" on Google); and (2) after being contacted by the Gnome Foundation, Groupon filed even more trademark applications.

There are a lot of decent, hard-working hackers at Groupon, and quite a few of them, I'm sure, regularly visit HN. They won't be happy to find out about this.

Are there any Groupon insiders here willing to comment on this, maybe anonymously?


UPDATE: Groupon just released an official response: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8590343 -- they now say they will be "glad to look for another name." If they really mean it, kudos to them for changing their position!

jevgeni 8 days ago 1 reply      
Groupon takes the pole position for the amount of douchebagery they dished out within such a short period of their existence.
skratlo 8 days ago 4 replies      
I don't get it either. If GNOME (the desktop environment and the foundation) have a trademark on GNOME, why do they need $80k to defend it? Shouldn't the trademark office then simply reject any further application for GNOME name related to computers, software and operating systems? Is this because of the idiotic defunc. justice system the US is imposing on themselves? Where you can sue mall owner for millions because you slipped on his floor? sigh
JoshTriplett 8 days ago 9 replies      
I'm one of the folks working on the GNOME defense campaign. Happy to answer any questions people might have.
Andrenid 8 days ago 3 replies      
Couldn't someone like Google, Apple, or any of the other huge companies who have made billions with the help of *nix and OSS in general step in and help out with what, to them, is a trivial drop in the bucket of money?

Also how is it even legal for someone to so openly and malicious intrude on a trademarked name? I thought that's the entire point of trademarks.. it protects you from this?

jessaustin 8 days ago 3 replies      
I had thought Groupon's core competence is scamming small businesses, not providing POS terminals for them? Do those two things go together?
alasdair_ 8 days ago 5 replies      
Official Groupon response: https://engineering.groupon.com/2014/misc/gnome-foundation-a...

"There is some recent confusion around Groupons intended use of a product name that the Gnome Foundation believes infringes on their trademarks.

We love open source at Groupon. We have open sourced a number of projects on github. Our relationship with the open source community is more important to us than a product name. Weve been communicating with the Gnome Foundation for months to try to come to a mutually satisfactory resolution, including alternative branding options, and were happy to continue those conversations. And if we cant come up with a resolution, well be glad to look for another name.

We will continue to have an open line of communication with the Gnome Foundation until this matter is resolved."

robmccoll 8 days ago 0 replies      
I feel bad that reason I'm donating for the first time to a project that has benefited me and so many others over the years is to help then fight a legal battle not to help support development.
VMG 8 days ago 1 reply      
I really don't know what happened over there at Groupon: http://gnome.groupon.com/#intro/index

Did they truly not know? Did they just think the Gnome project wouldn't care? That they'll win the lawsuit?

rasengan 8 days ago 2 replies      
One of the lead security people at Groupon has a big GNOME sticker on his laptop in a pic on LinkedIn. This tells me that groupon is about to get pooped on.
vayarajesh 8 days ago 2 replies      
How is it possible for Groupon to not know about GNOME? they probably have so many development machines running GNONE in their offices..

I find it hard to believe that none of their tech team has never heard of gnome..

Infact they should be grateful for GNONE for it being a huge part of linux operating systems and they must have surely used it during the course of groupon's existance

mahouse 8 days ago 3 replies      
What's the point on trademarking something when later you need to pay $80,000 to defend it? The US... smh
steventhedev 8 days ago 2 replies      
IANAL, but legal protection for trademarks extends to any usage wherein it would create sufficient consumer confusion.

Great example: Apple v. Apple. The computer company agreed to not enter the music industry. To the extent of which they got sued when they added a sound card and multimedia features to their computers. They settled for a boatload of money rather than let a judge decide that they couldn't add any sound/media features.

The bigger issue is that the GNOME foundation lawyers are attempting to deal with these competing registrations individually, rather than as a class, and trying to convince a judge that Groupon is acting in bad faith and attempting to use the legal system to force them to abandon the trademark in the face of excessive legal fees.

gnurag 8 days ago 0 replies      
Shame on you Groupon. Allow me to suggest an alternate name for your PoS tablet: iPad
rectang 8 days ago 0 replies      

I hope that Groupon finds its ability to attract and retain engineering talent substantially degraded.

xrjn 7 days ago 0 replies      
I've created a snapshot of some of the related pages, in case they ever get taken down:

Original GNOME page: https://archive.today/glAva

Groupon Gnome press release: https://archive.today/MQk7o

USPTO page 1: https://archive.today/xWlTk

USPTO page 2: https://archive.today/FpeeU

USPTO page 3: https://archive.today/CpI0s

Groupon Gnome page: https://archive.today/yGhPF

lucb1e 8 days ago 1 reply      
In laymans terms, can someone explain why does it costs 80 grand to protect something you registered to be legally yours 8 years ago? If they registered the GNOME trademark in 2006, isn't that supposed to protect them from this kind of shit instead of cost them more money when some big guy comes along and tries to take it?
lbredeso 8 days ago 0 replies      
Did I miss the announcement that Darl McBride was taking over as Groupon CEO?
swang 8 days ago 1 reply      
Does Paypal still randomly freeze accounts when they get an influx of money?
towelguy 7 days ago 0 replies      
If only there was some sort of blockchain technology that allowed us to declare ownership over things and used algorithms and cryptography instead of policies and lawyers...
StevePerkins 8 days ago 1 reply      
How is this trademark infringement? Generally speaking, you're allowed to use a trademarked word in a different field (and even trademark in that field yourself!).

The classic example is Dominos pizza vs. Domino sugar:


Here, "Gnome" is being used in two "technical" contexts... but that's a pretty broad brush to paint with for claiming overlap.

ommunist 8 days ago 0 replies      
Donated few bucks. I encourage everyone to do more than me. Lads, this tiny bit of freedom is in your hands. Please do the proper thing.
buster 8 days ago 0 replies      
I love Gnome and use it daily but obviously it's not a desktop environment and doesn't copy Gnome.I don't think real words like gnome (or windows) should be trademarks and surely not when two companies do two completely different things.

For sure, the gnome foundation doesn't want to sue garden gnome manufacturers as well.

1945795 8 days ago 0 replies      
IMHO gnome should spent the money on the people who create and maintain the software, I don't see how funneling resources into the legal system is in any way beneficial to open and free software.
kristoiv 8 days ago 0 replies      
higherpurpose 8 days ago 0 replies      
Groupon still exists? Wasn't it on a death spiral a few years ago?
voidz 8 days ago 6 replies      
Ehm.. so.. GNOME wants our help now. But how did they behave when GNOME 3 was announced to not work without systemd? Or hey, anyone remember that discussion on a GNOME developers' mailing list, where they planned to take out theming support, because "it is going against the ubiquitous experience we envision GNOME 3 to be"?

This smells fishy to me. (I said it more harshly, but realised that I went too far, sorry about that.)

Feel free to shoot holes in my theory.

676 points by sysk  6 hours ago   179 comments top 68
Systemic33 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Well that definitely takes the for most noticeable Hacker News submission.

Suggestion (if you are author): There are a lot of chars that look like another char, often used on the web, so i think that there are more advanced versions to be made. I think i read that a lot of thai signs and cyrillic look like latin chars.

emillon 5 hours ago 4 replies      
Funny how it triggered a bug in Firefox. When the tab is unfocused, its title in the handle is "", but when it gets the focus it becomes "<D835>" (in a square box). The next codepoint is U+1D48F whose UTF-16 BE encoding is d8 35 dc 8f.

I'd say that the truncation algorithm operates on bytes and that it can't make sense of d8 35, but I'm not too sure how to fix that since graphemes can have arbitrary length (right?). Do you have to compute the width in advance?

gus_massa 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is similar to the pseudolocalization (), that adds random accents to English word to test the localization capabilities of a program without requiring another language knowledge.

An online version: http://www.pseudolocalize.com/

A library: http://code.google.com/p/pseudolocalization-tool/

cgranier 1 hour ago 2 replies      
What I need is something that takes all the extended characters (think Spanish or Swedish) and turns them into alternative safe versions.

For instance, into a, into n, into a, etc.

Had my hopes up when I saw the title.

Does anyone have any ideas or links to working scripts that I can turn into something useful? I need to "sanitize" a database of foreign documentaries before uploading to YouTube (their metadata input system chokes on extended chars). Thanks!

hbbio 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Oh, no !

The cat should have stayed in a box, if this gains too much popularity, HN will read like MySpace back in the days.

And top HN news will be: "A browser plugin that translates Unicode back to ASCII".

edgarallenbro 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is great, but why is the Australian translation called 'upside down pseudoalphabet'?
mxfh 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
Since it wasn't mentioned here earlier, it's worth to take a look at shapecatcher to see what glyphs might resemble latin letters.

Scribbling something resembling the latin capital letter A returns for example any of these codepoints: A4

http://shapecatcher.com/ https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5150107)

Also the Unicode Consortium has some reports on security:



listing all kind of spoofing methods you haven even thought of.

robjh 5 hours ago 6 replies      
For others without that specific font or what have you:"Unicode Text Converter"

On my windows box with chrome all i see are empty boxes.

MrBuddyCasino 5 hours ago 3 replies      
This surprises me, what exactly is the point of encoding what are essentially different fonts in unicode? Isn't that the job of the presentation layer?

(the Fraktur variant is awesome btw, and is apparently in the valid unicode range for Java...)

TorKlingberg 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know why there are separate Unicode code points for letters in bold, bold italic and Fraktur? Normally this sort of thing should be handled by different fonts / font variants. Is it for compatibility with some legacy encoding?
sthlm 5 hours ago 1 reply      
In Javascript, many unicode characters are allowed [0], so h is a valid variable name [1].

Note: The number of lllVl [2] used in your production code is inversely proportional to the number of friends you'll make in the maintenance team.

[0] https://mathiasbynens.be/notes/javascript-identifiers

[1] https://mothereff.in/js-variables#h%C3%A1%C4%87%E1%B8%B1%C3%...

[2] http://www.panix.com/~eli/unicode/convert.cgi?text=illegible...

jackmaney 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'd like to buy a vowel, please. Let's go with "e".
pud 4 hours ago 3 replies      
I made an iPhone app that does kind of the same thing, but converts letters to their upside-down unicode equivalent. It's fun for sending upside-down texts.

Free and ad-free, just a fun project:


Immortalin 1 hour ago 0 replies      
On iOS 8.1 safari all I see is a bunch of squares ;(
edem 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
Can you do zalgo as well?
jfmercer 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I couldn't help but notice that this converter was copyrighted by Eli the Bearded. Google "Eli the Bearded", but not from work. You'll get some very interesting results.


sovok 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Very cool. Although the upside-down text doesn't work with mlauts and numbers. A reverse function would also be nice.

I wrote a similar tool that does this (http://lunicode.com). It's on Github if you want to use the code: https://github.com/combatwombat/Lunicode.js

Flott 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is not good news if it bypasses the spam filters! Does it?
horse_continuum 5 hours ago 0 replies      
One of my friends, moving to China for a semester to teach, was thinking of using a proper Chinese name to make it easier for students to address him. He had a good idea, even, which he shared on Facebook.

I proposed that we should name him after the lack of unicode support in our browsers, and we ended up calling him "Box Boxbox" for a couple of months.

kcorbitt 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Just a PSA for discoverability: since the replacement characters use different code points than their more standard equivalents, the default HN search (https://hn.algolia.com) at least doesn't find this submission when searching for "unicode."
tezza 4 hours ago 0 replies      
codemonkeymike 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Continued use of this would be a good way of making me not use HN.
cturner 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Different problem, but someone who knows about unicode will probably know this -

When I paste from microsoft documents into putty, characters will often be transformed to weird versions. Example - emdash is a different character to '-'. It comes through as a weird tilda character instead of a dash. Mmm. Frustating.

Is there a robust program you can run on putty to catch such type and flatten it to ascii?

anjbe 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Ive never been a fan of this sort of thing. The Unicode characters in these font blocks are not letters for making words; at least the doublestruck, fraktur, bold, italic, and bold italics are semantically for use in mathematical equations.

This can have some strange effects if you try to use them like letters. Example: Whats the lowercase transform of ? ! Not .

grimgrin 5 hours ago 1 reply      
My friend made a similar tool that you may enjoy:


arikrak 1 hour ago 0 replies      
See https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7383672 though they changed my title to normal text.
lazyjones 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Great, now we'll have to rely on IDEs with clickable drop-down lists of variables and function names because simple text input just got a lot harder for languages where Unicode is allowed for symbols!


rossy 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish this worked on Windows/Chrome, or I knew why it didn't work so I could star the issue on their bug tracker.
hesselink 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Strangely, for me on Firefox 33.1 on OS X, the title shows up fine on the main page. But when I click through to the comment, I get boxes only, and from then on, the main page also doesn't work anymore until I restart Firefox. I suspect an extension, but I'm not sure.
parasj 1 hour ago 0 replies      
guardian5x 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I only saw boxes in the title with Chrome 38. Tried out IE10 and it works just fine.
netheril96 4 hours ago 1 reply      
. ' .
calineczka 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Finally a way to express myself on facebook properly ;) I wonder if bold text would lead to better conversion from ads using this trick. And I wonder when is facebook going to ban this because obviously it works :
huuu 5 hours ago 1 reply      
yAnonymous 3 hours ago 0 replies      
aruggirello 1 hour ago 0 replies      
!Tli mAq o T w loHw A b iHT ,o HO
gojomo 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Hey! I was just thinking about this site, and visited it for the first time in years, after mentioning the old San Francisco ransom-font in another thread.

By randomly mixing these Unicode letter and letterlike characters, you can simulate a cut-and-paste ransom-note. For example, an acquired company could announce changes to its privacy policy:

  wE ve yuR rIvy n a iNdwleSs om,  & a  o nSaKble his t t

petercooper 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If you like this sort of thing, you might like this piece I wrote some time back about writing a Ruby script using whitespace for all identifiers: http://www.rubyinside.com/the-split-is-not-enough-whitespace...
getdavidhiggins 1 hour ago 0 replies      
DanBC 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Chrome on iOS is giving me the character unavailable boxes. Normally I'd just change the font but I can't do that here.

This doesn't feel like the future.

hliyan 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Impressive! Hopefully, this won't end with HN sanitizing everything except latin + latin extended from submissions.
grayclhn 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I look forward to a Hacker News front page that looks like a ransom note.
spindritf 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Also, strike-through. Which is the one I find genuinely useful because I like the suggestive way to say something then visibly correcting to something else.


dsjoerg 2 hours ago 3 replies      
y - x x?
jrometty 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It should be mentioned that this returns a blank title on the android app.
JulianMorrison 1 hour ago 0 replies      
cm2012 2 hours ago 0 replies      
On my android all the unicode characters (including the title) are blank.
geekam 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This fails to show up on my iPhone 5S Safari and I thought it supported Unicode.
gpvos 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I do feel that Unicode is slowly jumping the shark.
sjwright 2 hours ago 2 replies      
The question I have is, what's the easiest way to strip this out of unicode strings submitted by web users? With a nod to Cunningham's Law, surely the right answer is a regular expression?
rplnt 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Does not really work for characters like , not sure if there isn't anything similar in those "styles" or it was just ignored.
tibbon 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It appears to work on Facebook and Twitter.

edent 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the worst best use of Unicode!
tempodox 5 hours ago 1 reply      
It works :)

comes in a fancy bold italic font in my HN list. I love this hack.

NoMoreNicksLeft 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I don't really speak/read Russian, but I have a passable understanding of Cyrillic, and those always look dumb. It doesn't look like "the" to be, it looks lik "guh-buh-yeh" or something.

Same thing with the Borat DVD cover.

ck2 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Note that XP cannot show

    Negative Circled    Squared    Negative Squared    Double-struck    Bold    Bold italic    Bold script    Fraktur
At least not with the fonts I have.

shaurz 5 hours ago 2 replies      
What is the point of having different codepoints for FONTS in Unicode? What a load of nonsense.
noobermin 5 hours ago 0 replies      
gojomo 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting; the title displayed OK minutes ago, on the main page, in Firefox/OSX. But now it's showing as unsupported-glyph boxes inside the page... but still looks OK in the titlebar of the item (comments) page.

Did some automated or administrative process mutate the characters? Or is this just Firefox drifting, in choice of font?

sakri 4 hours ago 0 replies      
fun for passwords
tmmm 5 hours ago 0 replies      
How does it work?
fiatjaf 3 hours ago 0 replies      
.u dns s s
PSeitz 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Kiro 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Twitch chat will love this.
Houshalter 4 hours ago 0 replies      
kalops 3 hours ago 0 replies      
teh cancer that is HN.predicting next post someone shows off rageflipping text
Go is moving to GitHub
685 points by davecheney  5 days ago   236 comments top 19
DigitalSea 5 days ago 5 replies      
I think this is Google quietly admitting that Google Code is all but dead. They will not completely get rid of it, but I would not be surprised if they switch it to read only mode sometime soon.

This is a momentous move for Github, especially with Microsoft moving .NET to Github as well. As someone who loves Github immensely, this makes me happy knowing that my favourite service is going to be around for a very long time.

Kudos to the Github team for well and truly making it as the premier code hosting and collaboration tool for developers and lovers of open source. It only goes up from here.

bbx 5 days ago 9 replies      
Google hosting Go on GitHub. Microsoft hosting .NET on GitHub. It must feel like an accomplishment to be implicitly endorsed by these companies.

Considering open source's history, you'd think its primary management tool would be open source as well. I guess it's GitHub's combination of accessible design + performant version control + lack of ads + reliability that made it the premium source for anything open source.

I'm impressed.

mholt 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is a huge compliment to GitHub, for Google to be moving one of its premier open source projects off of Google Code and onto GitHub.

More importantly, though, this is a significant compliment to the Go community, for Go to uproot itself and move to where the majority of its users are.

yid 5 days ago 4 replies      
The writing's on the wall for Google Code. I don't think I've seen a new feature in several years.
annnnd 5 days ago 3 replies      
I think these are two separate issues:

  1) Go is moving from Google Code to Github  2) Go is moving from Mercurial to Git
To echo another user in the thread: "am I the only one who prefers Mercurial to Git?" In my view Mercurial is on par or even superior to Git, but lacks "Linus made it" fame. Too bad... I have used both Mercurial and Git and find hg command line interface much more intuitive to use. As for GUIs, there really isn't much difference between the two (too bad GitHub only supports git though).

jeffreyrogers 5 days ago 2 replies      
It is great to see so many projects moving to git and GitHub in particular. GitHub is incredibly helpful for quickly taking a look at a project and figuring out what areas of a project are still evolving and being actively developed.
TheMagicHorsey 5 days ago 1 reply      
Google Code has a really bad user interface. This migration makes sense. I wish they stuck with Mercurial and moved to Bitbucket instead, but Github is still better than Google Code.
ChuckMcM 5 days ago 2 replies      
Now all we need is Jeff Bezos to buy Github :-) That would be funny.

But on the story this is a great move, Github is much nicer than Google Code and more actively supported. I had not heard of Gerrit before and that was a really pleasant discovery. Now to figure out how to get that setup at the office.

sandGorgon 5 days ago 0 replies      
It is so sad that Google Code has not been given some love. Their bug tracker is far, far superior to Github. The review mechanism is also quite, quite good (Gerrit I presume). The UX was too, too Sourceforge-ish and could not compete with Github or (what I think is best of breed) Bitbucket.
stephenitis 5 days ago 0 replies      
Props on the move, it shows that golang is flexible to make moves for what's best for the community rather than stick it out in google code. I hope this results in benefits to the iteration cycle.
xkarga00 5 days ago 0 replies      
I was hoping for this transition for a long time!Github is far more accessive and user-friendly than the Google repositories.Great move.
Laremere 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think this move is great for 2 big reasons:

1. This fits better with the workflows I know and are common for Go programmers. I use Github and Git regularly for a variety of things, and I only ever use Google Code and Mercurial for things dealing with the Go source or tool repositories. Along with the change of the much of the compiler source code from C to Go, this will make it a lot easier to get involved with the core of Go.

2. Simplifies using import paths for Go's tools. There's a bunch of different repositories in Google Code's Go project, and using them is slightly more painful because Go Get then requires mercurial to work. Reducing developer friction is a good thing, especially in odd places such as when a github repository uses a Google code repository and suddenly you need mecurial to import something using git.

virtue3 5 days ago 5 replies      
Does anyone know what code review system they are using with github?
bigtunacan 5 days ago 1 reply      
As someone who uses Ruby as my primary language; I'm totally jealous of this move. While there is a github mirror, it sucks having to use Subversion for the "one true repo" when everything else I work with these days is on git.
Spitfire777 5 days ago 3 replies      
Hi Go team,

if you want an alternative for Gerrit code review, you can also use http://review.ninja. It's also open source, so you are welcome to contribute.


sdegutis 5 days ago 2 replies      
> The world today is quite different from the world then.

Not really. Everyone used Git and Github 5 years ago too. That's why it was so annoying that Go chose to use Google Code for everything, although not surprising considering it's a Google project.

patrickaljord 5 days ago 1 reply      
Really? You've managed to mention the lack of generics on a thread announcing moving go to github? Is this a parody comment or are you serious?
mwsherman 5 days ago 0 replies      
Im concerned that it wont get any stars.
tsmarsh 5 days ago 2 replies      
I guess its official, misogyny is ok in our industry.

Have we forgotten about: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=github+misogyny ?

I'm not sure github even experienced a dip in traffic.

There are github alternatives, it took me 30 minutes to remove my github subscription and migrate my repos to bitbucket.

Rosetta comet landing live stream
629 points by fla  7 days ago   102 comments top 24
sidcool 7 days ago 6 replies      
Updates: (Animation of where Rosetta is : http://sci.esa.int/where_is_rosetta/)

1. Comet is warmer than expected, estimating presence of dust.

2. Comet has Ammonia based gases in atmosphere and Magnesium in the soil. There is water in small amounts.

3. The gravity is one ten thousandth of that of earth.

4. NASA has a few instrument mounted on Rosetta. The microwave instruments, plasma instruments and Electron analyzer.

5. The landing site has clearly been identified. Rosetta will send 5 high-res images every hour. There were some minor hiccups last night.

6. Many high profile science experiments will be conducted during the first 48 hours after landing. This will be followed by the long term experiments whose results will take time.

7. Rosetta has executed a successful separation phase. The team is ecstatic :)

8. Team has lost contact with the lander, but the spokesman said this was expected and the contact will soon be reestablished.

9. It will be few hours before some new updates.

svckr 7 days ago 4 replies      
Here's _the real_ live stream: https://xkcd.com/1446/
frabcus 7 days ago 2 replies      
The pins puncturing the cold-gas jet system on Philae have apparently failed - which will make it harder to stay on the surface.


Still has two harpoons and ice screws!

kkitay 7 days ago 1 reply      
Philae landing confirmedreceiving data"harpoon fired and rewound".
Sami_Lehtinen 7 days ago 2 replies      
Is it just me, or do you find it silly that ESA live stream shows Jessie J advertising. I find it rather strange, but maybe they're just so cash deprived. Hmm? Maybe corporate executive investor dashboard should also show random high end product ads? Would it be a good or bad idea? - Maybe the mission failed, and they thought that showing music videos instead of something bad would be cool. Isn't that great idea for future space missions? Let's show "cool" music videos, if things go bad. So people can just be happy and don't need to worry or care what happened.
makeusz 7 days ago 0 replies      
In the meantime: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H08tGjXNHO4 Ambition the film
franzb 7 days ago 4 replies      
Am I the only one noticing, and wondering, why the operations center is nearly empty? Lunch time?
tempodox 7 days ago 0 replies      
Yes! This is the kind of news for HN :) We should have something like this every month or so.
hughes 7 days ago 0 replies      
The live chat in ##cometlanding on irc.freenode.net is pretty good.
welshguy 6 days ago 1 reply      
It's down. Harpoons fired. Telemetry active.
flexie 7 days ago 0 replies      
Landed!!! Awesome :-)
fabriceleal 7 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, the pictures here https://www.flickr.com/photos/europeanspaceagency/sets/72157... remind me of Eraserhead :)
edgartheunready 7 days ago 0 replies      
Must be watched while listening to this on repeat: https://soundcloud.com/fauzkhan/hanszimmerinterstellardayone...
edgartheunready 7 days ago 0 replies      
car 6 days ago 0 replies      
The DLR telemetry page, for the technical inclined: http://www.musc.dlr.de/philae/telemetrie.html
Icybee 7 days ago 4 replies      
Is it just me, or does it keep buffering for anyone else?
donmb 7 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know where exactly Tschuri is right now in our solar system? Couldn't find any map or sth that illustrates that.
joering2 7 days ago 6 replies      
Can someone actually explain me how is it possible to even rendezvous with an object that moves so fast and is so violent? I mean, this is not a Moon orbiting a Planet, but rather a very violent object storming through the Universe.
Cowicide 7 days ago 0 replies      
I just now watched their reaction after the successful separation where it's now on its way to landing on the comet. Very cool, thanks for posting this! The video stream was flawless, by the way, with great quality audio and video. Apple and others should learn from them how to do streaming right.
nsxwolf 6 days ago 1 reply      
Is there actual video of the landing? I'm still just seeing talking heads on the live stream. Did I miss it?
fla 7 days ago 0 replies      
Landed !
moioci 7 days ago 0 replies      
new meaning for separation anxiety.
5414h 7 days ago 0 replies      
i think its going to explode
toblender 7 days ago 0 replies      
They should play some music.

I'm watching this with pop music in the background, and it's way less tense...

Uber Executive Suggests Digging Up Dirt on Journalists
571 points by uptown  1 day ago   319 comments top 50
Asparagirl 1 day ago 12 replies      
Attempting to blackmail the press if they challenge your company's PR? Specifically targeting parents' worst fears by threatening to reveal details of the location of their children? Openly rifling through the location metadata of another female journalist, a customer of theirs, without her consent? Implicitly saying they'll leak customer data of Uber customers who are journalists, the kind of thing that can potentially endanger sources and compromise whistleblowers?

These people are scum. Uber was a neat app, but I have PLENTY of alternatives these days.

I opt out at airports, I donate to the EFF, I don't use Uber or any other app that targets people's privacy and actively threatens the freedom of the press.

(Oh, and like Sarah Lacey, I'm a mom of young kids too. Reading that article induced such a shudder of horror, and will likely do the same for any parent who reads, or even hears about, that story. Uber has done major, major damage to their brand on a visceral level.)

drivingmenuts 21 hours ago 1 reply      
If I say: "I wish that guy/girl would get exposed" - that's a pretty non-specific statement. You can laugh that one off and it can be spun all kinds of ways.

If I say: "I should dig up dirt on that person" - that's much more specific, but not always. It's harder to ignore and it's far more difficult to put a just-kidding spin on it.

If I say: "I should spend a million dollars and hire four researchers to dig up opposition research on this person to expose their private life" - that's pretty damn specific. You can't unsay that. There's no way to spin that that it doesn't sound like a threat, especially if it's known, or at least believed, that you have the resources and connections to pull that off.

Michael may be a guy who was just spouting off in frustration without thinking first, which is fine - it happens from time to time. But he's also in the top tier of a very valuable company and he's paid to pay attention and be on his toes.

And he wasn't.

He then tried to laugh it off by saying "he doesn't think that way". Well, it came from somewhere in his brain. There weren't any flying monkeys dropping notions from the sky; no random inspiron from a long-dead galaxy just collided with a neuron and LOL I SEZ STUPID STUFF.

He screwed up badly. He needs to be held to account for that and harshly, because that idea is out there now. It might not be acceptable now, but sooner or later, given enough repetition, it will become acceptable.

thesystemis 1 day ago 5 replies      
I am surprised not to see the word misogynist on this page. Here, a SVP is not only threatening a reporter and her family (which is truly repugnant) and reporters generally, he's also discussing sexual assault in such a trivializing way:

"He said that he thought Lacy should be held personally responsible for any woman who followed her lead in deleting Uber and was then sexually assaulted."

The top comment on this page talks about a "visceral" feeling, I had the same one. I had the same feeling I had when I heard things like Todd Akin (a politican in the US) talking about "legitimate rape." Do we really want people like this shaping our future?

justinv 1 day ago 6 replies      
Personally, I've stopped using Uber because of the lack of the company/management's lack of ethics. Lyft comes off as a much friendly, consumer-focused company & frankly, my experiences have been better in a Lyft than an UberX.

Also - I'm not one to usually browse Buzzfeed, but this was their story to break, so props to them for getting it out there.

dreamweapon 1 day ago 1 reply      
The executive, Emil Michael, made the comments in a conversation he later said he believed was off the record. In a statement through Uber Monday evening, he said he regretted them and that they didnt reflect his or the companys views.

They "don't reflect his or the company's views?" How can they not be 100% reflective of his views? And how can we possibly take anything said by anyone at the executive level at Uber seriously at this point?

bhouston 1 day ago 10 replies      
I can see how being assholes, intimidating the press, undermining rivals via dirty tricks, and other such behavior, can maximize shareholder value.

So maybe we just have to accept that this is the new normal and we should all focus on how we can play dirty tricks on our competitors, how we can intimidate the journalists who have written bad stories on us or haven't covered us. Where does the strategy to use intimation via oppo-research stop? Can we apply this to any dealings with politicians, angles, VC, policy makers? I bet it can be effective in these areas as well. Maybe a company's strategy to "force outcomes" should be a required slide in all pitch decks now?

I wonder if Uber stops at just using intimidation in less developed countries where things are rougher and governments are more pliable than in the US and Canada? If there are few limits to Uber aggressiveness and they have money, you can easily pay people in a lot of developing nations to improve outcomes in a large variety of "creative ways", and you can easily distance yourself from how those outcomes are achieved.

It does seem that Uber teaches us that this is the new normal and if we are not doing this, we are not maximizing shareholder value.

Panino 1 day ago 5 replies      
When Godaddy came out in support of SOPA, after a string of other obviously bad actions, I thought for sure it would harm their business. It didn't.

Unfortunately I don't think this Uber story will be different. Most people don't take a stand on anything (unless it involves consuming even more fast food, like a Chick-fil-a "reverse boycott").

metaphorm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think its abundantly clear at this point that Uber is an immoral company with a greed driven management team that has no ability whatever to properly think about the social consequences of their actions. Or worse still, perhaps they deliberately pursue malfeasance, as was suggested by the executive who made the comments discussed in this article.
justinv 1 day ago 0 replies      
Also, it was Travis who said Were in a political campaign, and the candidate is Uber and the opponent is an asshole named Taxi,"

Well, it seems we have come full circle. Who's the asshole now?

imgabe 2 hours ago 0 replies      
So they would investigate the journalists's private lives and publish all their embarrassing details in order to cause drama and controversy to further their own goals.

You mean like the media does with every public figure, ever? Like the media is doing with this exact story right now?

jarnix 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I won't use Uber (I live in Paris), because of what they did with Lyft, because some executive harassing a woman (story of yesterday on hn), because of this story as well. There are a lot of competitors who do not have their hands that dirty. I'm using Chauffeur Price here, never had to complain.
casca 1 day ago 1 reply      
While in SF earlier this month, I noticed that people were using Lyft and Uber interchangeably and given the consistent stories about Uber's management, it seems likely that people will switch to Lyft as a primary option with Uber as a backup.

It's quite possible that Uber will create the market by and then be eclipsed by other players who are less unethical.

QuadDamaged 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just looking at my uber rides, I am pretty certain Uber could already infer some interesting facts about my life.

Cross-referencing with geo-data, time, and weekly occurences, I am pretty sure Uber could infer who's in my social circle, and under which category (coworker, wife, arm-candy...)

The day Uber links its userbase with Facebook we are doomed.

ingenieros 1 day ago 1 reply      
You know what I find the most disturbing about this whole story?? "He also sits on a board that advises the Department of Defense"
xorcist 16 hours ago 1 reply      
There's been a number of negative articles about Google during the past years. Some for good reasons, some for bad. Some honest, some paid shills.

Imagine Larry Page saying: We'll sift through whatever data we've got on you and see what dirt we can find.

No need to imagine the threats against family. No need for any of the more nasty details. Just the basic premise, but in the setting of an established Silicon Valley company.

Done yet? No. Because you couldn't. Because any serious CEO worth their salt simply wouldn't.

And all those of you whose natural reponse is to defend these people, please imagine yourself doing it for Page as well. Would you, really?

bakhy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Uber's only purpose and meaning is exploitation. Yes, the app is handy, but it's no disruption. The disruption is in destabilizing the taxi cooperatives and weakening the drivers' position.

We should all cut the crap, there is nothing to be surprised by here.

ddalex 1 day ago 0 replies      
Uber is just not a nice company, they skirt laws around the world, and do very shoddy business.
wpietri 1 day ago 1 reply      
Actually, Uber is about ethics in tech journalism.
lettercarrier 16 hours ago 0 replies      
We used to laugh when our CEO/Head went to extremes to put customers first with things like creating a "Customer Bill or Rights." We thought it was overreaction after some glitch or dumb one-off call center rep violating PC correctness. But now I think Uber should get a transfusion.

All rides free New Years Eve and Halloween.No ride will ever cost more than $X (should not be hard to figure out - with an * too)To show good faith, ride once, the next is on us (for x weekend).Publicly terminate knuckelheads ("Jimmy the Greek") [1]Establish & Invite consumer, safety and the driver community to form an oversight group to ensure Uber holds itself to community standards.

My Luddite world has no idea what a Uber is, but they sure know how to ask and find out. New things to my Luds come from hearing human voices - asking neighbors/friends is still #1. Nothing out there now says "Uber has cleaned up its act" First impressions have to be disproven and last the longest.

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzB7IsmOegE

ghshephard 1 day ago 2 replies      
I would love to know if http://blog.uber.com/applepay means that Uber won't be able to track who they are taking to various locations. That alone would be a big win for Apple Pay.
joelrunyon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I get the competitive nature that Uber's taken against Lyft / Sidecar, but this seems like the worst thing yet.
cwkoss 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this article is relevant context- Sarah Lacy is a professional troll:http://www.cnet.com/news/journalist-becomes-the-story-at-mar...
general_failure 15 hours ago 0 replies      

All this overreacting and exaggeration is getting to me. Such terrible writing and she really is going overboard with all this.

unohoo 1 day ago 5 replies      
Someone @Lyft PR needs to be on this stat. I've hardly seen Lyft take any advantage of fuckups like these by Uber.
pja 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks like it's time to a) uninstall Uber and b) subscribe to PandoDaily.
caboteria 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just one more shining example that the easiest way to be successful in business is to be a sociopath.
peterjancelis 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I think making comments this stupid as a SVP is a fireable offense and I can somewhat see how the "family" mention makes Sarah Lacy worried about her children, but I totally don't get where this gender angle is coming from in this story. I don't read any of that in the original comments by Emil Michael.
chrischen 20 hours ago 0 replies      
A better idea is to reveal potential special interests or personal biases of the journalists, especially if it compromises their professional integrity.
PhantomGremlin 1 day ago 1 reply      
There is another recent HN article. It links to a Pando post by Sarah Lacy, the journalist being threatened. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8622187
microcolonel 22 hours ago 1 reply      
> A senior executive at Uber suggested that the company should consider hiring a team of opposition researchers to dig up dirt on its critics in the media and specifically to spread details of the personal life of a female journalist who has criticized the company.

Is it at all relevant that the journalist is female?

baxterross 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Let's call it like it is. Yellow journalists are going to stop at nothing to smear any company with a libertarian founder.
cseelus 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Publicly considering such STASI tactics for me is the last nail in the coffin, I'll never use a product of this strange company. (I'm from Germany, maybe we are more sensitive to such threats)
blackdogie 1 day ago 2 replies      
Despite being an impressive company, generating sales, growth fast, expanding internationally, it seems that these founders are a little immature. This isn't the first story about the lack of ethics of the company, and if I was them I would worry about this potential shift in widespread support. Today's shining light can easily be changed into the tomorrows demon. Maybe they could spend $1M on PR to improve the image.
kubiiii 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are there legal reasons why this SVP does not apologize to the journalist he specifically targeted while recognizing he threatened her and regreting it?
softdev12 23 hours ago 0 replies      
The most interesting thing to me about all this is that the tech media is probably about 50 percent responsible for pushing out tech start-ups to the wider world. If you go back and look at the beginnings of companies like Twitter (blogged about by prominent bloggers) and Facebook (published by the Harvard student newspaper), the initial snowball effect to get these companies going is largely based on journalists pushing these startups to their readership.

And now we have the case where a company that has successfully navigated the hardest part of the cycle (becoming a big enough snowball to be self-sustaining) that they can turn around and challenge the journalists.

It's like a child who has grown up and now comes back to challenge the parent. Fascinating in an abstract general way.

ascendantlogic 1 day ago 1 reply      
As long as the valuation keeps going up, the VC's will keep making excuses and looking the other direction. Remember, profits make everything all better.
iblaine 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Poke a bear with a hot stick and you might get bit. I don't see what the big deal is.
hero454545 16 hours ago 2 replies      
This story is plummeting suspiciously fast from the HN front page...
ssully 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just deleted uber from my phone and installed lyft. This kind of behavior is unacceptable.
rhizome 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have to wonder if this guy is executing a David Plouffe strategy to take a severance payout and become a lobbyist. That's one way people wouldn't know any developments from this were driven by Uber.
dang 1 day ago 2 replies      
Buzzfeed stories are normally penalized, but we take the penalty off for major stories. We've done that here. HN tends to frown on media controversy, but since this story seems destined to be above the line in any case, it may as well be the original source. We've demoted the other posts on the same story as duplicates.
rikacomet 1 day ago 1 reply      
On a side note, Uber should also sue all those companies piggy-backing on its name, dragging its name down. What I mean is, that every other month, I'm seeing a case of "Uber-for-X", like Blowhorn, is a startup that claims to be uber for mini-trucks.

What is happening is that, UBER is still going through its real challenge and hasn't established itself as a household name, like Microsoft, Apple, Google. Lot of people are still critical of its intent (including me perhaps), and its ultimate success, but these small startups that are piggybacking on its name are making matter's worse.

Most of these Uber for X startups, are not going to succeed, generally speaking, and when a start-up fails, brand value gets hit as people associate "failure" "didn't work" "not so good" with that name. Uber in that sense, is taking a hit on its brand name due to failure of other businesses (which I think is a bit unfair).

tedks 1 day ago 1 reply      
I hope all the people commenting with pitchforks in hand have also never said (or have been alleged to have said) anything at a private dinner between friends that could be construed in any way to be similar to these remarks.
omouse 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The US government, FBI and NSA don't mind doing that, why should Uber and other companies obey the law if federal agencies refuse to?

/devil's advocate.

nailer 1 day ago 1 reply      
Misleading headline, from article it wasn't in any way a serious suggestion.
Edmontonian 22 hours ago 3 replies      
The most recent Pulitzer Prize winner for journalism (Glenn Greenwald) says journalism is an "adversarial" process. However, adversarial is by nature a two way street. Journalists who go digging into the lives of people and businesses need to be prepared for adversarial response.

If I'm a business owner that's being investigated by a journalist, I want to find out the who, what, where, when and why.

I am entitled to investigate the people who are investigating me.

journalism startups are businesses. they make money by investigating businesses like uber. Uber is entitled to investigate in return

webXL 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Here we go again, more Uber drama. The only reason why this is a story is the (pardon the term) disruption of a protected industry, and the misplaced attention on the supply-side. Consumers are awash in convenience and choice right now, but the media and the politicos protecting the industry are ignoring that and going after the biggest member of the disruption so that it can be controlled.

I'm sure there are sleazy execs at Uber, but if the media pointed its glare at any other similar-sized company, I'm sure it would find them there, too. Uber may have more because it has grown so fast. It would behoove of them to start cleaning house so that this type of story doesn't kill the golden goose.

spindritf 1 day ago 1 reply      
I cannot treat complaints from journalists about digging up dirt seriously. This has essentially become their job.

Were was this criticism when some guy's personal phone calls were broadcasted and dissected? When Gawker was buying people's sex tapes? And not months ago, although then too, last week[1].

This is the world you created. Enjoy.

EDIT: And if you're downvoting, I'd love to hear why.

[1] http://defamer.gawker.com/somebody-is-selling-an-usher-sex-t...

sbuk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not necessarily a bad idea...

Edit FWIW, I personally do not and refuse to use Uber. I think that they are vile. But...

I find that too many journalist hide behind 'freedom of the press' when they are axe-grinding. A lot of online tech reporting that I encounter is knee-jerk reaction and factless click-bait. Personal blogs, where you'd expect to find this behaviour, in my experience tend to be far more credible...

just2n 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why is this here? This is a non story. All I see in this article is that someone was ranting in a conversation that was entirely assumed to be off the record (they go to great lengths to justify talking about it, as if private dinners require contracts of nondisclosure). I find it beyond hilarious that here Buzzfeed stands appalled that someone would joke about hiring people to dig up dirt when they find their way into private dinners and report every unsavory thing said in confidence and without context, essentially writing off that context as "this is never appropriate." Does anyone else see the outrageous hypocrisy here? One man is joking about something because he's frustrated with poor media coverage (which is arguably of questionable ethical validity) while Buzzfeed is actually doing that thing and now everyone here on HN is joking about how terrible Uber is and how they've distanced themselves. This is HN.

This is gossip about a man's frustrated rant at shitty media coverage. It's a non story and is totally off topic. If there was evidence he had hired people to dig up dirt with intent to blackmail, extort, or otherwise coerce people, we could be talking about criminal proceedings. But seeing as there's no mention of any criminal wrongdoing, this is complete and utter trash, and they know it. Another in a very long list of reasons never to read Buzzfeed.

I'm not here in a position in support of Uber because I literally have no idea what is and isn't fact. If every article negative of them is as misguided and useless as this one, I can't possibly hope to form a coherent and well informed opinion about a company. Definitely not based on clickbait headlines and opinion pieces without solid evidence of wrongdoing. You can hate Uber for all the valid reasons you can find, but getting angry at someone for expressing frustration is truly next level pathetic. This clickbait shit. What the fuck.

Some people are linking a Pando article, which says, as a direct quote:

> Earlier this evening, a bombshell story by Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith proves the reality is way worse than anyone on our team could have expected.

In reference to this article. You can see why this shit can't be taken seriously. Referring to garbage like this article as a "bombshell" or "proof" of activity is completely divorced from reality.

AWS Lambda
520 points by cpenner461  5 days ago   158 comments top 42
jedberg 5 days ago 5 replies      
Ive had a chance to use the service for a couple of weeks. My quick summary review is that its a little tricky setting up the IAM roles and security groups, but once you have that going, it works great! I see a ton of potential here in transforming the way people use AWS.

I also put together the Netflix use cases in the keynote so if you have any questions Ill try to answer them!

MBlume 5 days ago 5 replies      
Right now the only language/runtime supported is js/node, but they intend to include others.

(figured people would want to know this, and you have to scroll a ways to find out, so)

makmanalp 5 days ago 9 replies      
I'm so torn - on one side this is a very neat thing that'll save a lot of boilerplate, and on the other it screams of vendor lock-in.
spitfire 5 days ago 5 replies      
I wish they hadn't named the units of computation "Lambda functions". Cause, you know there's already something known as a "Lambda function" in computer science.

But kudos for Amazon for furthering the datacenter-is-the-computer approach. It is simply the right thing to do.

marknadal 5 days ago 1 reply      
Holy mind blowing awesomeness, this changes everything, yet I feel like this was such an obvious thing to do. So obvious that I can't believe it is real. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why AWS defines the cloud, they are so far beyond everyone else and still innovating, even and the most basic level.
tomcart 5 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like a much more interesting announcement than the container service. Can see the architectures of dozens of our systms collapsing down with this.
mathgladiator 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is way cool especially considering S3's event notification will enable a ton of interesting workflows: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8602955
hackerews 5 days ago 0 replies      
You can rip out quite a bit of logic into separate services with this.

Will definitely be interesting to see how Lambda actually works.

Try out Blockspring, you can play around with your usecase now (and no vendor lock-in).

cperciva 5 days ago 1 reply      
Something I want: AWS Lambda code which responds to S3 PUTs by issuing Cloudfront invalidations. Anyone want to write this?
numlocked 5 days ago 2 replies      
Should I think of this essentially as an abstraction that can replace my asynchronous task queue + workers (e.g. RabbitMQ + Celery workers, obviously assuming you aren't using MQ for additional messaging)? I hate managing those pieces and would be happy to hand that infrastructure to Lambda, but are there additional benefits or use cases that are opened up?

I guess I would have expected others to describe this the same way ("replaces your distributed task queue"), but since I'm not seeing that description I wonder if I've misunderstood.

dk8996 5 days ago 2 replies      
Is it me or AWS is releasing too many services... there is a service for everything. I wounder if they are just throwing stuff out there see what sticks... kinda like landing pages.
jameshart 5 days ago 3 replies      
Claiming that your code is a 'lambda function' makes it sound sexy, but.. isn't it really just a procedure? Unless I'm missing something and there is some higher-ordered capability for composing AWS lambda functions together in a way that permits the platform to perform lambda reductions or optimize resource allocation...
debaserab2 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm excited for this. This replaces what I wanted to use SQS for.SQS always felt like too much vendor lock-in to me to justify not using something like RabbitMQ or Beanstalkd.

With Lambda, the resource consuming the queue is managed for me - that is huge. Also, the pay by time model is perfect for this - instead of managing when to stop/start resource intensive instances, I don't even have to think about the problem. I only get charged what I used, which can be crucial during growth stages of a business or prototype.

The big penalty is the vendor lock-in, but this tips the scales for me for certain things.

rajatchopra 4 days ago 0 replies      
Good stuff. Basically it seems to do the bind+listen for you if you are the trigger subscriber. If you are the trigger generator, then it does socket.write for you. But the big deal is that you dont pay for 'listen', just pay for the function execution.The one thing that will surely happen with this is that the code written will be 'locked in' to run only on aws territory.
turingbook 5 days ago 0 replies      
cschmidt 5 days ago 1 reply      
> You can use any third party library, even native ones. [1]

I realize they are starting with node.js, but I wonder how this will work? It sounds like they plan to support arbitrary dependencies. Will you upload a Docker container with your necessary dependencies? They talk about milliseconds until your code is running, and containers may be (?) slower than that. Or am I hoping for too much.

[1] http://aws.amazon.com/lambda/details/

amelius 5 days ago 0 replies      
One difficult part of doing event triggered processing is in the progress reporting and keeping the code related to it simple. I wonder how they deal with that.
ColinCera 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'd pretty much given up on AWS for compute and moved most everything to Linode and some bare metal servers, but this service looks very compelling for discrete compute tasks.

The ability to pay only for the fractions of seconds actually used, and the ability to scale quickly without provisioning (or over-provisioning) EC2 instances, is awfully attractive.

Plus, Amazon has priced this pretty aggressively i.e., it looks shockingly cheap.

jlrubin 5 days ago 0 replies      
How is this different from CGI?
dkarapetyan 5 days ago 3 replies      
All these announcement are making me feel sorry for all the other players in the cloud game. The other guys don't even come close.
hendry 5 days ago 0 replies      
I tweeted that it's a PITA to transcoded uploaded media yesterday and today AWS solve the problem!



JoshTriplett 5 days ago 0 replies      
This looks quite interesting, and a lot more fun to work with than maintaining a pool of servers ready to handle events and spinning up new ones based on capacity.

Anyone know of any similar mechanisms for the OpenStack world, or more generally for any cloud infrastructure other than AWS?

hcarvalhoalves 5 days ago 0 replies      
Full-circle back to mainframe era.
adelevie 5 days ago 3 replies      
Is this comparable to IronWorker?
james33 5 days ago 1 reply      
It sounds like this is essentially what Joyent's Manta is, which we've been using in production for the last year and have found to be absolutely fantastic. Are there differences that I'm not seeing?
riobard 5 days ago 1 reply      
How is it different from Google App Engine? Conceptually the two seem very similar to me, that is, developers do not have to worry about the underling infrastructure at all---just write code and deploy.
luminati 5 days ago 1 reply      
Haven't had much time to read the docs. Sorry if it's already evident, but does it allow for running Lambda code on cron as opposed to listening to some event?
motoboi 5 days ago 0 replies      
AWS Lambda announcement video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eHoyUVo-yg
impostervt 5 days ago 1 reply      
I love that it uses Node.js to start, but does it support NPM?
Zaheer 5 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of http://www.Webscript.io

Similar single event -> function service

nivertech 5 days ago 1 reply      
Does AWS Lambda supports cron-like periodic triggers?
jbaudanza 5 days ago 2 replies      
It would be nice if a lambda could respond to web requests. Maybe an Elastic Loud Balancer could be an "event-source".
dominotw 5 days ago 2 replies      
Would this be useful for build services like setting up a jenkins instance using lambda compute resources as slaves?
davidw 5 days ago 0 replies      
From a casual glance: it's kind of like Heroku but with Node.js, and it scales automatically?
Apoplectic 5 days ago 1 reply      
Huh? Shared server infrastructure? That's really what this sounds like. Welcome to web hosting in 1999 guys. Most of the point of AWS was that you have your own dedicated resources. Sure, this is a scaling solution, but revolutionary?
squidcactus28 5 days ago 0 replies      
How to get this on private cloud?
GIFtheory 5 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds a bit like Mirage OS to me (http://www.openmirage.org).
sly010 5 days ago 0 replies      
IaaS -> PaaS slowly but surely
salimmadjd 5 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon Echo (voice interface of IoT) + Amazon Lambda (the cloud services of (IoT) = Amazon disrupting home appliance IoT products.
waitingkuo 5 days ago 1 reply      
How can it compare to zappier?
hyperliner 5 days ago 0 replies      
I finally have stored procedures and triggers for my DynamoDB database!
notastartup 5 days ago 0 replies      
What about dependencies. What if you need a specific environment setup first in order to process. Would you end up paying 1 minute for each request just so that it can start installing bunch of stuff? Is it possible to just setup a VM of some sort and use that environment each time?

If thats possible Lambda would be like PiCloud but without Python, and will stick around (hopefully).

Open Whisper Systems partners with WhatsApp to provide end-to-end encryption
479 points by charlieok  1 day ago   143 comments top 25
eyeareque 1 day ago 5 replies      
I trust Moxie more than governments or companies, so this really makes me happy. If you've read things on his website (http://www.thoughtcrime.org) you'll know how important remaining secure from the government is to him. This is a huge step in the right direction. I'd also like to congratulate WhatsApp on their decision, I have a lot more respect for them now.

Congrats Moxie and team. You guys are doing a great thing for humanity.

dmix 1 day ago 0 replies      
Since this doesn't seem to be ready to be fully announced yet, I checked last week and Open WhisperSystems is still looking for iOS developers to help. Moxie mentioned on twitter that security and crypto experience is not required, but they are looking for f/t devs not just p/t help.

Also they have a browser extension that could use some help from front-end devs:


It is still pretty early but the project has Bithub as well. From my understanding, this is their planned desktop version.

morsch 1 day ago 2 replies      
The Verge had an article about this, whatever "this" is: http://www.theverge.com/2014/11/18/7239221/whatsapp-rolls-ou...

But that's also 404 now, here's a cached copy: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:NAz9uOi...

And here's a copy of the article text: http://pastebin.com/Y5CUPqDJ

They talked to Moxie about it, so it doesn't look like a hoax. More like it wasn't supposed be announced yet.

It goes without saying that this would be a big deal. And it would explain a lot of the slow movement w.r.t. an iOS client. Although The Verge wasn't sure if and when the encryption would be available on iOS. And WhatsApp is closed source software, something that's unlikely to change, which really isn't what we want from a secure messenger. So I might keep Text Secure installed for the time being.

But still. OTR (and the enhanced/modified version of it TextSecure is using) is probably the easiest to use way to communicate in a reasonably secure fashion, and it'd would be fantastic to see it used by hundreds of millions of users all of a sudden -- even if it's sitting on top of insecure mobile operating systems and untrusted-yet-privileged hardware.

furyg3 22 hours ago 1 reply      
"[...] and our roadmap for our own products remains unchanged."

What is that roadmap? TextSecure for iOS is stalled...

Awesome for Moxie and team, his is huge news. But the world still needs a cross platform, open source, end-to-end encrypted platform... It's just too important to trust Facebook with.

orblivion 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't suppose they will open source the WhatsApp client as part of this. Assuming so, that sounds like a compromise for Open Whisper Systems.
lgierth 1 day ago 0 replies      
Incidentally, the WhatsApp cofounder donated $1M to the FreeBSD foundation today.

The other link posted, theverge.com, is 404 as well, btw.

justfane 1 day ago 1 reply      
But wait... Didn't Facebook Inc; Buy whats app for 19 billion? So does this mean Whisper Systems is working with 'facebook' on this...? Maybe i'm wrong...
13 23 hours ago 6 replies      
Why do all of these services insist on you giving them your mobile number? Even Telegram, which claims to be the all giving god of encryption and privacy, insists on having it no matter what. It's a massive barrier to entry which I'm not willing to cross, and I'm sure other people aren't either.
MatthiasP 23 hours ago 2 replies      
If this is true and has no strings (backdoors) attached this is huge. This means end-to-end encryption for messages from more than half a billion people and an incredible privacy win compared to SMS usage. Brought to you by facebook.
g8oz 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Great news, WhatsApp needs all the help it can get on security matters.


Spearchucker 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I need convincing. Facebook can't monetize end-to-end encryption, and WhatsApp doesn't ask before uploading my contacts. Encryption from the client to the server is a start, but there's not enough here to make me use it.
derwiki 1 day ago 1 reply      
I recently tried WhatsApp alternatives that provided end-to-end encryption on Android (I use TextSecure, but only 1% of my contacts do). Wickr was the best, but a little too paranoid for daily use. WhatsApp has a better UI and sends messages faster. I would love to trust that their end-to-end encryption is legit, and WhisperSystems being involved helps, but.. seems I'm still skeptical.
higherpurpose 1 day ago 2 replies      
Not only is this huge by itself (600 million users with E2E encrypted messages by default), but I'm hoping this will put a big pressure on Google, Microsoft and others to adopt TextSecure's protocol (or something very similar), too.

This is how you deliver strong security to the masses. Not by convincing all your friends to adopt some weird and obscure chat app with the only benefit that it's "more secure" (most won't care), but by getting large service providers to adopt it and push it to hundreds of million of users without them even noticing.

Oh, and I assume that if Whatsapp adopted it, Facebook Chat isn't too far behind...right?

robmccoll 20 hours ago 1 reply      
So how does the initial key exchange work here?
patcon 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This is so unbelievably awesome.
unicornporn 23 hours ago 1 reply      
So, does this mean that users of the Android TextSecure app (and perhaps even Signal for iOS) will be able to communicate with WhatsApp users?
Tepix 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a huge improvement and I'm very glad that WhatsApp is going this route.

However, from my point of view, TextSecure isn't there yet. The ideal solution should be decentralized, like XMPP. That makes gathering meta data so much harder.

nodata 7 hours ago 0 replies      
First a million bucks to FreeBSD, now this? Keep it coming WhatsApp!
therealmarv 1 day ago 0 replies      
Also the article from The Verge went offline http://www.theverge.com/2014/11/18/7239221/whatsapp-rolls-ou...
otoburb 1 day ago 4 replies      
The submitted link (https://whispersystems.org/blog/whatsapp/) is 404. Also, at this time, the Whisper Systems blog doesn't actually show a blog entry referencing WhatsApp.
gonetone 22 hours ago 1 reply      
can't find any official statement from WhatsApp anywhere. Most of the sources just cite Marlinspike.
thewarrior 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is going to backfire big time on WhatsApp and get them banned from many countries like India , Saudi Arabia etc.
estefan 22 hours ago 0 replies      
...and once this is rolled out, they'll add auto-deleting messages, et voila! Snapchat destroyed over night!
secfirstmd 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Amazing news!
tptacek 21 hours ago 0 replies      
That is not why Moxie was "hatin' on" Telegram.
The Founders Guide to Selling Your Company
437 points by sinak  8 days ago   52 comments top 16
tptacek 8 days ago 2 replies      
This is really great, probably required reading.

I wrote some thoughts about the company acquisition process (I've been involved in 3):


About the only thing I could add to Kan's guide here is, when he talks about riding the lawyers, to be aware of how much you are going to spend on legal in a real acquisition. When I meet founders who've sold companies, I usually ask them how much they had to spend to close the deal, and every answer I've ever gotten squares with my experience: it's a price you can measure in Maseratis.

I never thought about hitting up VCs for term sheets during the process. That's clever.

Remember, deals are made to fall through!

JangoSteve 8 days ago 1 reply      
Having just gone through my first acquisition process from beginning to end, this was great reading and a lot of it range very true for us.

One thing that it seems people often forget is that, in business, if you're truly entering in to mutually beneficial agreements (whether it's hiring someone or being acquired), both sides generally will try to come to some sort of arrangement that makes sense for both sides. In other words, when it's understood that an agreement is win-win, then both sides are motivated not just for themselves but for the other side as well.

Of course, the sentiment is a bit idealist, as the hard part is actually figuring out when someone is being genuine and knowing exactly what value you're providing to them and they will provide to you. If a company really wants to buy you, and they're not trying to pull one over on you (e.g. intentionally offering much less than your value), then they won't try to strong-arm you into doing something you don't want to do. I think this is what the author is getting at when they say that it's okay for you to push back on things such as offer price, deadlines, etc. The key is to also be genuine and not try to pull one over on them.

Of course, this sentiment is also a bit idealist, as the hard part is knowing what your actual value is to the other party, as there's seldom an absolute value of something; it usually depends on the situation of the environment and other party, which constantly changes and which you won't have the full story.

This also assumes that genuine parties are wholly genuine and that they're not being led astray by other parties, whom they absolutely trust but who may not be genuine or as capable as they have led the primary parties to believe. I've seen plenty of deals fall through, or almost fall through, because of good people being influenced by outside factors.

I kind of lost my point in all that. I think it was simply that, while acquisition talks are stressful and time consuming, they can also be scary. That fear however, usually comes from doing a deal in which you may feel you're misrepresenting your value (and thus trying to get more from the other party than the actual value you're providing), or in trying to do a deal or negotiation which you feel you absolutely cannot walk away from. Both of these situations lead to more volatile negotiations which fall apart more easily. And this can lead to making the wrong concessions or agreements, which gets us back to one of the points in the article, which is that the best time to solicit an acquisition is when you don't need it and can easily walk away.

hard-road 8 days ago 1 reply      
So, Justin and or YC, maybe another guide and or a short post that would be helpful to entrepreneurs would be...

"What to do when tech companies come knocking at your door?"

For example we are a small start-up on the east coast. We have had oodles of tech companies reach out to us. One invited us out west to demo, saying would you let us buy it from you, please come out and demo your tech. Then when we get there they treat us like dirt, bait us for how we accomplished our tech and after we tell them they quickly show us the door.

Following that demoralizing event others tech companies reached out asking how we accomplished X. Well after being squashed by one company, we don't take any other companies minor advances seriously.

Thus, before spending the thousands of dollars to go out west (filed a provisional & some travel costs) we wish there was a resource to have helped us say ... Umm, no do not go out to the valley they have not offered you a term sheet. We did reach out to our network, it's not too small and those in our network said, "You should pursue it and or sorry I've never been in that situation before."

jacquesm 8 days ago 3 replies      
I spent some time curating a hacker news thread, it's one of the most read posts I ever put together:


It's a bit more nuts-and-bolts than Justin's (excellent) post here, add to taste for best results.

anatari 8 days ago 1 reply      
"As the startup, you have all the leverage before you sign a term sheet. Once you sign, you have almost no leverage at all."

A breakup fee would help mitigate this. Is that uncommon and difficult to negotiate for?

icelancer 8 days ago 0 replies      
I sold 40% of my company and I got insanely lucky to find a partner who fit all the holes that I have in my approach. He's now the CEO and I'm the President. I was losing hope for a long period of time even though my business was solidly in the black with large cashflows and zero debt, because it's such a niche business where no one is interested (sports science).

The guy dropped into my lap and made me a reasonable offer, which now "looks bad" because he's doubled revenue in six months. Not, obviously, that I'm complaining....

Luck is a huge part of the whole process. I went months and even almost 2 years resigned to the fact that I would be turning in 80 hour work weeks while having two kids and a wife to try and please, and that my personal health would be the sacrifice. I am not sure how I'd survive or if I could even continue to run the company under those conditions for much longer than I did.

I feel for the sole owner of a startup gaining traction and nearing an inflection point. I just wish I had more advice.

inmygarage 8 days ago 1 reply      
As someone who just went through an acquisition I hope that people will begin to write more about the acquisition process -- there's so much out there about raising financing, especially a seed round, and very little about M&A.

Thanks for putting this together, Justin.

porter 8 days ago 3 replies      
How do you stop a competitor from making a fake offer just to get a look into how you do things?
joeblau 8 days ago 1 reply      
> Like TechCrunch articles, bullshit offers are a vanity metric, not an actual measure of success

Justin; Could you touch on some other vanity metrics that you see companies measuring their success by?

jmathai 8 days ago 0 replies      
> in order for a company to want to buy you, an internal champion will have to internalize one of these reasons

Truth. Identify who that person is and focus your energy on making sure they have everything they need to stay motivated to sell their company on buying yours.

shenoyroopesh 8 days ago 0 replies      
Completely agree - you always get a better deal if you are ready to walk away from the negotiation table.

This applies not only for selling a company, but even consulting gigs, job offers, partnerships, etc.

applecore 8 days ago 1 reply      
> Do not enter acquisition talks unless you are ready to sell your company.

Isn't this obvious? If you don't want to sell your company, don't talk about selling your company.

emiliobumachar 8 days ago 0 replies      
The whole post is off-white on white in my Android phone, unless I click an icon which opens a text box over the main text. If I close the box then the main text gets low-contrast again.
bentoner 8 days ago 2 replies      
I don't get why you say that investment bankers are expensive at 1 to 2%. If they can't improve the deal by at least 2%, they can't be worth dealing with at all.
talltofu 8 days ago 0 replies      
'Like TechCrunch articles, bullshit offers are a vanity metric, not an actual measure of success'

Thank you for putting techcrunch where it belongs

notastartup 8 days ago 1 reply      
well this will never happen to me so I'm just going to close this window and go back to work.
What an Uncensored Letter to M.L.K. Reveals
419 points by rooster8  6 days ago   202 comments top 24
declan 6 days ago 2 replies      
Much of this was known before, including the FBI's anonymous letter attempting to provoke a suicide. As others said elsewhere in this thread, documents came out during the Church Committee. I wrote this 15 years ago when I worked at Time:

      The FBI's campaign to destroy Dr. Martin Luther      King began in December 1963, soon after the      famous civil rights March on Washington. It      started with an extensive -- and illegal -- electronic      surveillance of King that probed into every corner      of his personal life.       Two weeks after the march, the same week King      appeared on the cover of Time magazine as "Man      of the Year," FBI agents inserted a microphone in      King's bedroom. ("They had to dig deep in the      garbage to come up with that one," FBI director J.      Edgar Hoover said of the Time cover story.) Hoover      wiretapped King's phone and fed the information to      the Defense Department and to friendly      newspapermen.       When King travelled to Europe to receive the      Nobel Peace Prize, Hoover tried to derail meetings      between King and foreign officials, including the      Pope. Hoover even sent King an anonymous      letter, using information gathered through illegal      surveillance, to encourage the depressed civil      rights leader to commit suicide.       "The actions taken against Dr. King are      indefensible. They represent a sad episode in the      dark history of covert actions directed against      law-abiding citizens by a law enforcement      agency," a Senate committee concluded in 1976.    []      History reveals that time and again, the FBI,      the military and other law enforcement      organizations have ignored the law and spied on      Americans illegally, without court authorization.      Government agencies have subjected hundreds of      thousands of law-abiding Americans to unjust      surveillance, illegal wiretaps and warrantless      searches. Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King      Jr., feminists, gay rights leaders and Catholic      priests were spied on. The FBI used secret files      and hidden microphones to blackmail the      Kennedy brothers, sway the Supreme Court and      influence presidential elections. 

comrade1 6 days ago 5 replies      
This was in the 1960s. Imagine the projects being conceived now for targeting individuals and population subsets to change opinion, mood, etc. using things like social media, targeted communications, etc.

The US then and now was totalitarian and authoritarian. Some of you, especially here on hn, may not fall into those mind-sets but it doesn't matter - you've lost - you're barely scraping by, working 60 to 80 hours a week and you have no time to change your environment. Meanwhile the political class is able to work full-time on perpetuating their power while taking away yours. You have no power, no rights, because they have been chiseled away the last 30 years by the authoritarians.

I've said this before and I'm always downvoted but I don't care. Just leave. Go to Berlin, or London (not much better though), Switzerland, or anywhere else. Even if you go to someplace like the UK that isn't much better than the u.s. you will at least no longer be contributing to a government spending 10X to 100X of any other country on arguably evil pursuits. Take your wealth-creation skills to somewhere else where you won't be contributing to your our demise.

I know that many of you will discount this one event as a one-off - MLK was certainly special. But it's only a one-off because it was the start of this sort of campaign against someone that can bring change.

Mikeb85 6 days ago 8 replies      
It continually amazes me that Americans can perpetuate the myth that their government is a democratic, moral force in the world given everything they have done, and are still doing...
samirmenon 6 days ago 3 replies      
The New York Times actually broke the story.


alukima 6 days ago 2 replies      
I spent an obsessive night searching through documents via online 'reading rooms'. I don't have the links anymore but theres mounds of documentation showing intelligence agencies doing shady shit like this to try to break up civil rights groups. Fun look ups are 'blank panthers', 'san francisco', 'socialist', any black leader.

San Francisco seems like a broad term but there's so much interesting stuff, they were watching school teachers in the 60s and 70s and trying to create distrust within communities that were too left leaning.


zabuni 6 days ago 13 replies      
Rather. Hackers political values, as stated in the jargon file, have politics:

"Formerly vaguely liberal-moderate, more recently moderate-to-neoconservative (hackers too were affected by the collapse of socialism). There is a strong libertarian contingent which rejects conventional left-right politics entirely. The only safe generalization is that hackers tend to be rather anti-authoritarian; thus, both paleoconservatism and hard leftism are rare. Hackers are far more likely than most non-hackers to either (a) be aggressively apolitical or (b) entertain peculiar or idiosyncratic political ideas and actually try to live by them day-to-day."

Mapping this to any political ideology would be difficult.

mynameishere 6 days ago 4 replies      
Eventually we'll know what's in his file:

The FBI spied on Martin Luther King Jr. in an unsuccessful effort to prove he had ties to Communist organizations. In 1963, Attorney General Robert Kennedy granted an FBI request to surreptitiously record King and his associates by tapping their phones and placing hidden microphones in their homes, hotel rooms and offices. A 1977 court order sealed transcripts of the surveillance tapes for 50 years.


...some people think he made extensive use of prostitutes, but I expect the FBI would have pulled an "Eliot Spitzer" on him had that been the case. Still, there's something there or they wouldn't be covering it up to protect his saintly image.

scintill76 6 days ago 0 replies      
The unredacted version is really interesting historically, but I don't think it reveals much more about the lengths the FBI went to. I believe it was already well-known and believed that King was being sexually blackmailed specifically. The redacted portions all seem to deal with that exact nature of the blackmailing.

The redaction reveals more about what the FBI wouldn't do: how at least one person was reluctant to release public documentation proving that's what the FBI did.

johnny99 6 days ago 0 replies      
Snopes has a good explainer largely debunking one of the nastier pieces of misinformation circulating about MLK, which touches on FBI surveillance of him:


rglover 6 days ago 6 replies      
Something that's always confused me about the world and people as a whole. Why are so many people hell bent on implementing some "moral standard" that everyone needs to follow? Honestly?

There's this bizarre projection of the individual and his/her motivations onto every living being that fails to make any logical sense.

Is there any psychological premise for why we feel the need to dictate the behavior of others such that they perfectly mirror how we behave (or in many cases, wish to)?

There appears to be a tipping point where someone agrees with a certain set of values and as opposed to stopping at enforcing those values on themselves (reasonable), they go absolutely nuts trying to push it onto everyone else.

A sort of: how dare you.

wyager 6 days ago 1 reply      
Let this serve as a demonstration that government agencies actually can be comically evil.

A lot of people dismiss accusations against government agencies or fail to consider hypothetical legal abuse scenarios because "the government would never do that". Yes, the government would ever do that.

neue 6 days ago 1 reply      
When was the letter written? What marked the significance of '34 days later'?
rooster8 6 days ago 0 replies      
The URL was changed to the NY Times article that originally broke the story, but this post originally linked to an EFF interpretation of the article:

FBI's "Suicide Letter" to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Dangers of Unchecked Surveillance


jack-r-abbit 6 days ago 0 replies      
If this hadn't been labeled "suicide letter" I never would have read into it that the writer wanted King to kill himself. "You know what to do" is actually pretty vague. Do what? Come clean about his affairs? Leave the country? Quit being a pain in the ass for the government? Quit working on civil rights?
sopooneo 6 days ago 0 replies      
Do we have a guess as to why they wanted him dead? Was it that those in power believed the rise of African American citizens would disrupt the power structure and their position in it? Or was it purely racist, with the powerful just believing it was wrong for black people to have equal rights?
josho 6 days ago 0 replies      
This puts in context why privacy is so important. If for some reason you were to become a leader of a movement and the NSA had swept up every digital bit about you for the last 30 years then they could potentially have a goldmine of information to soil your name and put the movement into disarray.
codezero 6 days ago 0 replies      
Wow the redacted parts read like modern day news article comment sections. I wonder, was it meant to look like it was sent from a crazy person, but to include specific facts to scare MLK, or is this aligned with the typical kinds of personality attacks done by people at the time?
dangayle 6 days ago 0 replies      
How hard would it be to create a fake internet paper trail containing pornography, chat rooms, etc., as is mentioned in the article? It seems that would be relatively trivial for a sufficiently motivated state actor to perpetrate.
opendais 6 days ago 2 replies      
Tbh, this is what scares me about tech illiterate juries. Many of these cases hang on key pieces of evidence that are literally the FBI's word against the defendants.
pitt1980 6 days ago 0 replies      
maybe we should compare some of these misdeeds to the misdeeds of the various communist governments that inspired those misdeeds
jqm 6 days ago 0 replies      
To me, the most ironic part of the whole situation is Hoover's private behavior...

That aside, there is very little doubt in my mind Hoover was a bad man. The sad part is, many people eventually are bad given the chance and they never even know it. This is why impartial rules and transparency are important.

This may not be a common sentiment, but I look forward to the day when we are governed by machines rather than monkeys. I mean... the constitution, the rules of state and religion, they are algorithms no? Designed to remove as much as possible the corruptible human element from the equation? So why not take this concept a level further?That's my thinking.

Eventually there will always be another Hoover. But the next one might have better tools. But I think the human race can build a better system based on principals of efficiency, impartiality and beneficence. And maybe after a bit more waste, abuse and needless suffering caused by greed (that is the bottom line with the people who run the Hoovers of the world no?) it will.

baxterross 6 days ago 1 reply      
The government does more harm than good
daveloyall 6 days ago 0 replies      
Is there any indication that the modern FBI et al would use a strategy like this?

OMG STOP THE PRESSES I figured out the men's rights thing!

diminoten 6 days ago 0 replies      
I find myself afraid to criticize this submission, because I don't feel an honest discourse about this submission can take place on Hacker News.

That should sadden you, as it saddens me.

Show HN: Meet me, I'll buy you coffee
425 points by milesokeefe  7 days ago   199 comments top 46
sillysaurus3 7 days ago 12 replies      
What does clicking "Let's meet" do? I clicked it to find out and it said "Message sent, thanks! I look forward to meeting you."

I, too, look forward to meeting you! But that probably won't happen. Good luck with your experiment, though.

Also, a few things to remember: You're much more valuable than your first employers would have you believe. Don't let that go to your head. Do go to university. I know how eager you are, having been in that position myself, but it's a mistake to drop out of one of the most effective social networks ever devised by humankind. Go for the social experience and the social doors it opens. If you're still not convinced, take a hard look at the background of all of the YC partners and realize that all of them seem to have attended some good schools. While you can make it without university, and you can lead a happy life and do whatever you want and be in the upper 1% of quality of life across all of humanity without attending university, you only get one chance to choose not to follow "The Path," which is high school -> good university (undergrad) -> better university (graduate student) -> learn how to be around rich people and convince them of your way of thinking. Normal people who don't attend university simply don't get this opportunity. Specifically, the opportunity to test out what works and what doesn't, socially, with wealthy people. Why is this important? Well, if you want to do something big, and you don't have any money, wealthy people are by definition the only ones who can help you. Even at absurdly high salaries, it's very hard to save up money to do something that involves hiring other people. Possible, but difficult. So where do you turn? Investors, of course. Except, crap, they're wealthy, and you have no idea how to be around them as equals. But wait, you attended university, and so maybe they have some shared ground with you... Hm, nope, you didn't. Well, of course, your website demonstrates traction, and traction is what matters to an investor. But what else do investors care about? Your team. Where (or whether) you went to university says a lot about you, fortunately or unfortunately.

Really, there's no reason not to go. Make some reasonably intelligent decisions and you'll have a great time while getting the debt paid off in a reasonable timeframe.

But if you don't go, you may find you'll want to later but never really get the opportunity. Not in the way you once had. Once you depart from The Path, you'll have to beat your way back onto it, surmounting bills and work and all kinds of annoying stuff that people fresh out of highschool don't really have to worry about just yet.

Speaking of bills and debt: whatever you do, don't get into credit card debt. Don't get into credit card debt! I can't emphasize this enough. It's so tempting, but just don't.

Do use a credit card though. Just pay it off every month. Otherwise you may not be able to get services (internet, phone, whatever) at a new apartment, or buy a car. Had it happen to me once, and it sucks. No credit history = unknown risk = "I'm sorry but we will never do business with you."

Kind of an awkward place to end a ramble, but whatever. Maybe some of the ideas might be useful.

Maybe consider leveraging this particular experiment to help you attend one of the local top-tier universities as an undergrad. Ask people if they have any advice on this, and maybe you'll find someone who could help with the admissions process. Who you know matters more than what your highschool history was like, so maybe some strings could be pulled somewhere.

peteforde 7 days ago 0 replies      
There's a lot of folks in this thread that are posting "go to school" comments without knowing a whole lot about you. I'm sure that from their perspective it's the obvious best advice. I am commenting to say that people who have invested the most valuable years of their life in school tend to spend the rest of their lives hunting for evidence that they made a great decision.

The simple fact is that their answers are more about their own confirmation bias than giving actionable advice.

While it's true that lots of successful people went to college, the simple fact that you taught yourself to code and you're hanging out on Hacker News puts you into a completely different category than 99.9% of people that don't go to college.

I've seen people talk here about ROI on degrees and "the path" and what makes a good student. I've seen far less about how people are highly unlikely to know what they should be doing with the rest of their lives right out of high school. That there's so much focus on 18 year olds paying crazy tuition to get a piece of paper that proves they attended some generic lectures on a generic subject is criminal.

Anyhow, I'm ranting. I'm projecting. I didn't go to college and I have been very successful. It's because I decided early on to feed my intellectual curiosity and give myself permission to fall in love with things that themselves lead to other things. It's way more important that you learn about music and travel and optimize for interesting than push your square peg through a round hole.

That's not to say that you won't ever go. But if you don't think this is the right time, then you are the best person to know that. Just don't be idle; try to imagine that your life will be a series of well executed five year plans.

Don't let yourself get burnt out along the way, it sucks.

What I recommend is that you join a startup and work there for about a year. Then get the hell out of California for a year; I recommend that you go work at a startup in Berlin or Amsterdam for a year. Get a global perspective.

Hacker News is an incredible resource, but it's also really full of people that buy into a California tech ideology that can be self-limiting. It's just one of many lenses through which you can see the world.

Good luck; I'm really excited for you. Just remember: no person has ever been on their deathbed and thought, "man... I wish I'd made fewer interesting decisions".

zippergz 7 days ago 2 replies      
I have to say, as someone twice your age, I'm humbled by how many projects you've put out there. Sure, a lot of them are small and simple, but there's something to be said for just doing stuff. I spend too much time agonizing over whether my ideas are good enough, big enough, will make me money, etc. I'd probably learn more and have more fun if I allowed myself the freedom to do small interesting projects without any expectation of what they'll turn into.....
edw519 7 days ago 0 replies      
I love it! It's interesting, inviting, and shows great initiative.

I don't live in the bay area, but next visit I'll make sure to put this on my schedule.

2 pieces of feedback:

"See more about me here." doesn't do you justice. I didn't even notice it, but I found your website from your hn profile. Once I visited your site, you went from "mildly interesting" to "must meet". Is there some way to make the link to your site more prominent, perhaps with a mini-graphic of your front page a little higher up.

I know this may sound controversial, but "Here's my offer: I buy you a coffee..." and "Free" actually turn me off a little. I've heard this so many times now, I'm practically immune to it. You obviously have much to offer without buying coffee. Anyone should be happy to spend time with you without that. You may actually want to reconsider that offer to stand out from the crowd of posers (who you are obviously not a part of) and allow yourself to stand on your own merits. Don't sell yourself short. You clearly don't need to pay to meet interesting people in the bay area. Something to think about.

Best wishes on this and on your move, Miles. Looking forward to hearing great things about you and hopefully having coffee (dutch treat) soon someday.

milesokeefe 7 days ago 3 replies      
I stole the concept from tg3 who made this:https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6674987

Don't worry though, I got his blessing before making this site.

jack-r-abbit 7 days ago 1 reply      
The form at the bottom is a little confusing for several reasons.

1) You say things like "Here's my offer: I buy you a coffee" and "Tell me about your..." but then the form is all "I'm ________ and I'll meet you ______". Notice the change in who I and you refer to?

2) Adding to the confusing of #1, you have an email address placeholder that is not very obviously a placeholder. It is your.email@gmail.com but what if that is actually your gmail account. Perhaps using the classic something@example.com would make it a little more obvious that it is placeholder. It kind of looks like you have put your own email address since this I'm is you if they were all consistent in this section... but they aren't. This is a classic conundrum of web design. (ie, should a site use "your cart" or "my cart" in the nav?)

Having said that, I work in Berkeley and could probably meet up some day. I don't drink coffee though.

pnathan 7 days ago 2 replies      
I thought this was like a match-making service which would pair up people quasi-randomly who lived in the same city.
alain94040 7 days ago 0 replies      
Just launched, similar idea for lunch: http://colunchers.com

EDIT: whoa, take it easy, don't overload my VPS instance :-)

EDIT2: fine, I'll do my own Show HN here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8592812

issa 7 days ago 0 replies      
How people feel about the "going to college" question is usually just a reflection of their own experiences and nothing more. You can't live life twice.

IF you want to be a doctor/lawyer/etc where a degree is required, then by all means you must go to school.

For anything where only results matter (for example, the open source software world) no one will care one way or the other what you do.

A lot of things will fall in between. Some doors will open, some will close. It's impossible for anyone to say which is a better choice.

Certainly, no matter what, there is no pressing need to go to school NOW. School will still be there in a year. Or two. Or even 20 if you find a reason to go later in your life.

The only thing you should avoid at all costs is wasting time. If you're skipping school to get high and play video games (doesn't sound like you!) then you are going to pay a heavy price as the years slip by. Be sure to make use of the time you "save"!

Good luck!

partisan 7 days ago 1 reply      
This guy is silicon valley's dream. Self re-locating, driven and talented, and young enough to pay peanuts in salary. You late twenty-somethings have an expiration date now.
tomahaug 7 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Miles, I really like the page and the idea behind!

Do you know www.startuptravels.com? There's approximately 42 entrepreneurs at the moment of writing in the bay area who'd like to meet other entrepreneurs for a coffee and a chat.

Direct link to the SF search: http://www.startuptravels.com/search?location=San%20Francisc...

Edit: If anyone wants to show a little support. Show HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8592850

stockkid 4 days ago 0 replies      
Seeing this website reminds me of myself. I too have been building computer stuff since I was a 5th grader. I was going to study CS in college. After I was rejected by my dream school, I went on to study economics and mathematics instead, because it was the one of the best program that my school offered.

I've seen your projects and they speak for your passion. I think it's amazing that you are doing what you are doing. I'm not going to lecture you about whether to go to college or not. College has its merits and demerits. All I can say is keep up the good work!

zaporozhets 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to think i'm a relatively successful 20 year old.

I left high-school and jump straight into a front-end dev role at a branding agency.

Two years on I'm not building a creative agency, hireable anywhere and I have a business network that most people would kill for.

I think that what you're doing is great but you'll do better by getting some business cards made, going to events and networking with every single person you can. That relaxed environment usually yields for more exciting and organic business relationships. Simultaneously, work hard in places that are versatile in their offering. You'll get broader and ultimately more valuable experience rather than taking a higher paying job somewhere where you're not growing properly.

Also I recommend you jump into some fast-paced, crazy work at an agency before you move into a product focused team.

philip1209 7 days ago 0 replies      
I know somebody who did something like this in St. Louis and was quite successful:


It helped build her network, find a new job, and meet people doing cool things.

terramars 7 days ago 1 reply      
This is an awesome networking hack! If you're looking to "meet" a bunch of employers, check out Hired - http://join.hired.com/x/WF25Mp. We placed someone with a very similar background to you (18 years old, web dev) a while ago. Everyone loved him, they'd be excited to meet you too.

Side note, I'd be happy to chat over coffee and discuss the valley, opportunities, and how to not get screwed over, regardless of your interest in Hired.

davb 7 days ago 2 replies      
This is a great idea.

I really wish we had half the community community you guys have, here in Aberdeen, Scotland. You could throw a rock and hit a tech guy in SF. Here, the only groups of any prominence are MS .Net groups.

I've been struggling to find or build such a network here. I'm an open source, Linux, Python type of guy and feel I don't fit in the myopic tech culture here. I'd emigrate to SF in a heartbeat.

Good luck networking, I reckon you'll do alright. If you ever visit Scotland, hit me up!

lowglow 7 days ago 0 replies      
I tried this with burritos last year. The results were mixed. I got a lot of great people, but even with screening, I had a ton of very weird characters come through because I got some press on it.

I found a lot of people just wanted a free burrito. Not a problem, but not the community I hoped to build out of the experiment.

Needless to say I had put on about 20lbs in burritos.

[edit] sent you an email! :)

smegel 7 days ago 0 replies      
I suspect this is just a ploy to get to the top post on HN which is surely of more value than this webpage in and of itself...so congrats I guess.
yurylifshits 7 days ago 0 replies      
Hey Miles, we have Mission Hackers meetup this Wednesday. Come join us tomorrow: https://www.facebook.com/events/1549813885231948/

Everyone else is welcome too! We are a group of hackers and entrepreneurs who get together in Mission District, work on our own projects and have fun.

agentultra 7 days ago 0 replies      
I've went more or less a similar route as you. I've met people who swear by going to university. Many who went and dropped out. Others like myself who didn't go.

We're all in roughly the same spots not far from some imaginary standard deviation.

Best of luck with this interesting idea. How do you vet the people you intend to meet? Do you get any spam or trolls?

brimtown 7 days ago 2 replies      
Great idea. Just a heads up, the email validation in your index.js isn't functioning; it accepts any arbitrary string (or none at all).
drawkbox 7 days ago 0 replies      
You are gonna go far kid, scratch that adult. Keep those hands firmly gripped on the wheel, noone else driving it but you.
Blahah 7 days ago 0 replies      
You can basically ignore any life advice you're being given on this thread - you've got your head screwed on better than anyone here. Keep doing what you're doing; you're doing it all right.

I'm not in SF, but if you're ever in the UK (London/Cambridge) feel free to look me up.

BrandonY 7 days ago 0 replies      
This would be cool as a generic tool, like a 1:1 version of Meetup. Which I guess is what dating websites are, but explicitly focused on just talking one time with an interesting person about stuff they are really excited about over coffee instead of dating.

I would like to have coffee with interesting people from time to time.

cblock811 7 days ago 0 replies      
Good for you! I'm from the South and moved out here without knowing anyone before. I would love to meet you and hear how things are going. I would be happy to introduce you to people too. Included my email when I responded to your web app but my personal email is listed in my profile. Coffee is on me though ;P
pcthrowaway 7 days ago 1 reply      
I love that you have overandoverrickandmortyadventures.com! I just binge watched season 1 and checked every domain name; surprisingly there are a few mentioned in the show that are still unclaimed (I think one was mentioned by the fake door salesman in a later episode where they watch interdimensional television)
yawz 7 days ago 0 replies      
Many commented about the merits of college already. I'm just going to say college life was great. There's more to life than money and professional success. If you have the opportunity, go through college and experience the social benefits.
V-2 7 days ago 0 replies      
While the main website is very aesthetic...


- this is not a particularly good design. Project descriptions are hardly readable and it looks plain ugly, to be frank

michaelq 7 days ago 0 replies      
The college experience for most Millenials can fit into 14 lines of JavaScript: https://twitter.com/freecodecamp/status/531824655573602304
eddotman 7 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty cool stuff, dude. I filled out the form (which, I assume, sent you an email). I'll be around Berkeley in January, so if you like chatting about science stuff, then that could be fun. You have really good initiative (especially normalized for age).
gniquil 7 days ago 0 replies      
Your Meet me at "noon" placeholder got cut off (reads "no" right now). Had to pull up the trusty inspector to resize the input element to see the full word... Otherwise awesome!
rglover 7 days ago 0 replies      
Might be too late, but would be cool to show off your dev schools by adding some sort of slot/budget feature that shows how many cups (or money left) you have open for people to "book."
tuxguy 7 days ago 0 replies      
Very impressive Miles !

You should speak to Sahilhttp://sahillavingia.com/

Wish you all the very best !

tempodox 7 days ago 0 replies      
If you're one of those strange people who do social networking, this approach is really cool. I like it :) I'll let you know when I'm in the vicinity.
trekky1700 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'd love to take you up on this, but I'm afraid I'm thousands of "Miles" away.

Sorry I had to.

Nice Rick and Morty site on your portfolio!

voltagex_ 7 days ago 0 replies      
Have you thought about letting other people put up subdirectories/subdomains on this site? It'd be really useful for a friend of mine (in Australia)
mattlogan1 7 days ago 0 replies      
F the haters, you're clearly doing something right.
afar 7 days ago 1 reply      
I like the .coffee domain. Nice get. Although, with 190+ points, "I'll buy you coffee" might get a bit expensive.
chrismorgan 7 days ago 1 reply      
http://miles.codes/ doesnt work well in Firefox, by the way.
Pinn2 7 days ago 0 replies      
Neat! Just remember that it's not just who you know--it's what you know! You'll go far.
imaginenore 7 days ago 1 reply      
Your page is way too tall for the amount of information you put. And the most important stuff is at the bottom.
jclish 7 days ago 0 replies      
Welcome to California.
Multiplayer 7 days ago 1 reply      
How are you marketing this page?
ashah 7 days ago 0 replies      
go to college, dont miss your chance to have sex with human women
martinvol 7 days ago 0 replies      
beautiful website, by the way!
Bringing SSD Performance to the DIMM form factor
409 points by djoldman  8 days ago   201 comments top 27
NamTaf 8 days ago 10 replies      
I can't wait to see the programming paradigm of memory vs permanent storage begin to blur in the next 5 or so years. It's going to make some major assumptions about how you program stuff change quite significantly and it's really exciting.
IgorPartola 7 days ago 5 replies      
This is sort of the opposite of the RAM-based battery backed drives [1]. I can see this being immediately useful for things like large database servers: instead of re-priming caches on reboots you just have them already warmed up. You can also suddenly have a whole lot more "RAM" at the cost of its speed.

I do have a hard time picturing what this will look like if it was as fast as traditional RAM. If I can store everything in RAM, from the OS binaries, to the running processes, it certainly has a kind of elegance to it. Lots of microcontrollers already act this way: all your hardware has an address in a single address space, be at a hardware port, ROM, RAM, NVRAM, etc. However, I wonder how the modern UNIX OS will work with a system like this without block devices at all. I wonder if what it'd do is actually just use RAM disks, and years from now we'll still be doing this the way we do double emulation of the TTY. That'd be kind of sad since it means we can never get away from the concept of old block devices.

On the other hand it's damn convenient to be able to just append to a file and not have to worry about reallocating it. This means that perhaps all we'd need is a filesystem that's designed to work over RAM rather than over block devices.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-RAM

mrb 7 days ago 1 reply      
You can tell SanDisk's performance numbers do not add up and that they are likely misrepresenting the true performance of their device. (Those red asterisks next to the numbers correspond to a footnote that is conveniently missing from the page...) A "read latency of 150usec" translates to maximum possible read IOPS rate of 1/150e-6 = 6.67K (with one outstanding I/O). But they quote a "random read IOPS of 140K". That would only be possible if their DDR3-based DIMM could process 21 concurrent read I/O operations. But to the best of my knowledge, DDR3 is limited to 8 banks/DIMM, so there could not possibly be more than 8 concurrent read I/O at any one time. Far from 21.

So SanDisk is likely quoting a worst case read latency and/or a best case read IOPS. Customers are left to themselves to figure out which of these numbers is most likely to represent the average performance...

PS: here is a paper with some more details but that still fails to explain this discrepancy: http://www.snia.org/sites/default/files/SanDisk%20ULLtraDIMM...

petercooper 8 days ago 2 replies      
I appreciate this might not be the right way to look at it, but from a trivia POV, in terms of raw performance, what era of regular memory would be comparable with it? (i.e. "typical desktop memory in 2004", say.)
fpp 8 days ago 0 replies      
More info on the UlltraDimms at:http://www.anandtech.com/show/8396/fms-2014-sandisk-ulltradi...(developed together with Diablo, some benchmark links).

and a video interview and demo with a SanDisk manager at a computer fair - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jarsTLGXx9c(currently only available for OEM, requires special bios setup)

ctz 8 days ago 1 reply      
'reliability rate of one unrecoverable error in 1017 (sic) bits read'

So about 4 unrecoverable errors per sector. Seems legit.

Do people not read their own copy?!

bitL 8 days ago 3 replies      
What would be the advantage of this comparing to PCIe/M.2 PCIe SSDs? Is it all about reduced latency, i.e. very small reads/writes would benefit?
zrail 8 days ago 3 replies      
I don't quite understand. Does this act like a stick of memory or an SSD? Is it just using the memory controller as a super fast parallel bus? If it does act like normal memory, what happens at reboot?
kcarnold 7 days ago 0 replies      
For all of us who are thinking "it's just like RAM, just persistent!", here's some perspectives about what persistent RAM means for OSes and applications: http://lwn.net/Articles/610174/
snake_plissken 8 days ago 1 reply      
This is pretty cool, especially since the data is persistent. You could put an entire data warehouse onto one or of a couple of these things, update it once a week and get amazing response time.

But I thought the main drawback of SSDs was that eventually the individual memory cells will degrade and lose the ability to write new data. I don't see anything about endurance other than a MTBF of 2.5 million hours and the disk-writes-per-day (DWPD), which I had to look up. I have no idea if these are good or bad. I feel like these things will be great if you didn't write new data a lot, or you have deep pockets to replace them when you need to.

nine_k 7 days ago 2 replies      
How come read latency is 150 s, while write latency is 5s, 30 times shorter? Do they mean the latency to start a write operation? IIRC, flash memory is written block by block, with a pretty significant time to write one block.
userbinator 7 days ago 3 replies      
The capacities are very odd - you'd expect something in a DIMM format to have a power-of-2 size.

I think the market for this could be much bigger if it behaved like a regular RAM DIMM, only slower and nonvolatile; it somewhat reminds me of old machines that used magnetic core RAM. This could be useful for laptops, like a zero-power suspend-to-(NV)RAM. The only thing that is worrying is the endurance of the flash - especially if it's being treated almost like RAM in this application.

jgrodziski 8 days ago 2 replies      
I look forward to the point where 3/4 of business application code will go the trash when we'll have a persistant memory with the latency of actual RAM disk (Memristor !!). Exit all that "copy from RAM to Disk/Network" code.It will definitely change the way we code and look at code. That's why nowadays I think a good interface to your entities, like the Repository pattern, is a must have.
zitterbewegung 8 days ago 5 replies      
Is the advantage the low latency because the rest of the specifications seem to be pretty standard for an SSD. Does this require a BIOS patch of some sort?
Wildgoose 7 days ago 0 replies      
I would still say that the real performance bottleneck is ultimately the bandwidth between the CPU and this memory. This suggests that the next stage will be to incorporate heterogenous processors alongside that memory - thus upgrading your computer could then be as simple as plugging in an another combined non-volatile memory/CPU block into a fast inter-connector. Rather reminds me of the the old S100 bus where everything just plugged into the same channel, (which probably dates me quite well).
jpgvm 8 days ago 2 replies      
This technology is actually developed by a company called Diablo Technologies. They seem to have licensed it to Samsung.
unwind 8 days ago 0 replies      
Cool! And weird. I wonder what the OS support looks like.

Also available in a non-Brazilian page at http://www.sandisk.com/enterprise/ulltradimm-ssd/, of course. :)

robmccoll 7 days ago 1 reply      
I honestly can't imagine having something in my DIMM slots with this bad of latency and throughput. 150 microsecond reads? Doing a full POST would take forever. What OS and software use - case does this serve?
fastest963 7 days ago 0 replies      
Apparently once you hit 3.2TB the IOPs falls to only 200K. Typo? http://cl.ly/image/2J0u182D3229
egillie 7 days ago 2 replies      
SSDs as RAM + projects like Tachyon are the future of big data processing -- current workflows are still way too slow. I wonder how this will affect Spark.
joelthelion 7 days ago 0 replies      
Do OSes already support this? Do they support it as memory, a storage device, or both?
rlpb 8 days ago 1 reply      
What OS support exists for this, and how does it work?
Fando 7 days ago 0 replies      
What implications does this have for us simple folk?
imaginenore 7 days ago 0 replies      
We have PCIe SSDs approaching 7.2 GB/s. While that's lower than DDR3 speeds, it's not that far off.


mohap 8 days ago 2 replies      
What's the catch here?
gr3yh47 8 days ago 1 reply      

"Reduces total processing time, compared to hard-drive drives (HDDs)."

i loled.

lowlevel 8 days ago 0 replies      
Mind blown.
Show HN: Projects from Stupid Shit No One Needs and Terrible Ideas Hackathon
415 points by saaaam  1 day ago   96 comments top 40
yogiHacks 1 day ago 3 replies      
I was at Stuipd Hackathon. I've never been to anything so unabashedly motivated to be pointless and irreverent. Workshops included: "3d printed sex toys", "how to be come alan ginsberg in 30 minutes", and "pissing off my landlord".

All the projects there were so beautiful because they were liberated from the whole motif in tech of products constantly "revolutionizing field-xyz and solving 1000 major world problems".

If we are going to enter into a truly tech-literate, post-internet phase of humanity, we gotta be making dumb, hilarious junk like this.

unclesaamm 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is incredible. I think a few things are worth noting:

1) these "terrible idea" hackathon projects were so much more _sexual_ than your typical hackathon. This goes with the indications that the sex-tech space is anathema more for market reasons (VCs want to stay family friendly) than because sex-tech isn't fun or interesting to people. With the chance of funding not on the table, a healthy mix of projects veered toward sex. Maybe humor can actually be a way for a few sex-tech startups to take off. :)

2) the funniest projects all involved hardware. There's something extra-ridiculous about juxtaposing our own bodies into these stupid projects. I recommend anyone interested in a solid philosophical grounding in humor to read Henri Bergson's early 20th century treatise on laughter (http://www.templeofearth.com/books/laughter.pdf). He writes that we find use laughter as a way to draw attention to the rigid, mortal, and physical in all of us. That is why impersonating someone's habits is funny-- because the rigidity of their personality is made super clear. I wonder what it says about us that strapping ipads onto people's faces makes me laugh out loud.

if_by_whisky 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is already over? DAMN. Now what am I going to do with my idea to build a payment gateway on top of snapchat...
blhack 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is always my hacker's-block-breaker. If I'm stuck on something, and not feeling particularly creative, I'll make something intentionally useless, and funny, and it usually cheers me back up and gets me working again.
andrewstuart 1 day ago 2 replies      
Aren't we all participating in this hackathon on a global scale except for a very small number of us who build something people want?
cheepin 1 day ago 3 replies      
I wish I knew about this. I wrote a file server that serves your webroot directory over League of Legends chat. Any time you request a file that is more than a few bytes, your chat gets flooded with base64 strings... The extraslow web.
StavrosK 1 day ago 1 reply      
Aw, I should have entered my rotary mobile phone...:


blairanderson 1 day ago 0 replies      
This looks rad.

A very similar hackathon I went to a few months back is http://www.comedyhackday.org/ They matchup comedians and hackers to create beauty.

Easily the most fun hackathon i've ever been to/

JacobAldridge 1 day ago 0 replies      
I learnt some great definitions around creativity and innovation at a conference I was involved with recently. To wit, "Creativity is the generation of novel and useful ideas."

The speaker (Dr David Hall) recommended that the search for Creativity often needs to start with generating something novel and useless - this can then inspire the useful application to emerge. Only when we pursue the novel, however useless, do we really open ourselves up to surprising creativity.

This Hackathon seems to fully embrace that principle, so I wouldn't be surprised at all if many of those who participated take the germ of an idea and develop it further into the useful space.

[1] http://jacobaldridge.com/business/3-blockages-to-creativity-...

bbcbasic 1 day ago 2 replies      
The Stupid Font is actually very cool. I am going to use it for my blog title. So sorry Stupid Font creator: You failed - I find your idea useful.
hiou 1 day ago 4 replies      
How is this different from every other Hackathon?
tormeh 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. Especially the beautified intellectuals.
softdev12 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow. 100,000 projects submitted? With that many projects, you'd think the odds would make it that one wasn't terrible.
dmix 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where is the "Intellectual Babes Calendar" I'd like to buy this...
rajacombinator 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Ahh unintentional hipster self-parody at its finest.
2511 1 day ago 0 replies      
Please note:This is NSFW
dzhiurgis 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is incredibly funny.

Just today I was reading i am devloper tweets and just started wondering are there communities for developer jokes? Reddit comes to mind, but it become too mainstream. Anything else?

stockkid 1 day ago 0 replies      
The food bite tweet is my favorite.
bonobo3000 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ahhhh this is beautiful :) Reminds of the days when blogs and websites were creative absurdities and programming was a cool hobby.
Dragonai 1 day ago 1 reply      
How regularly is the Stupid Hackathon held? Fall and spring? Georgia Tech student here, I would seriously fly up to participate.
normloman 23 hours ago 0 replies      
That "tweet from food" thing reminds me of Vessyl.https://www.myvessyl.com/
mistercow 1 day ago 2 replies      
The rearview mirror one is actually a really cool experiment. I wonder if eventually you'd just get used to it (although you probably wouldn't get used to all of the neck and joint pain from trying to do things so awkwardly).
binarysolo 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Any equivalent of this sort of a Hackathon in the SF Bay? If not, wanna organize one together? :)
mkhpalm 1 day ago 1 reply      
If they sold it, I might buy that thing that tweets my food bites. It would also make twitter more useful / entertaining for me.
andyidsinga 1 day ago 0 replies      
kudos to the "Kim Kardashian On A Newton" team.

...thats some non-trivial archeology to get that running :)

jbaudanza 1 day ago 1 reply      
That "Focus Tools" chrome extension looks like it could potentially help me from getting distracted. Disqualified!
sleepyhead 1 day ago 0 replies      
So it's like a normal hackathon?
androidb 1 day ago 1 reply      
DO NOT click to watch the drone delivery video. Trust me.
sirances 1 day ago 0 replies      
Really hope this type of event spreads - looks like a lot of fun.
boomlinde 1 day ago 0 replies      
A very honest hackathon!
ddeger 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This Hackathon should be international :)
askinakhan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hahaha! The Focus Tools one is great! looool
thebouv 1 day ago 0 replies      
We need more Hackathons like this.
joshu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can someone do this in the Bay Area? I'll help.
snarkyturtle 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yeah... might want to mark this NSFW
thejaredhooper 22 hours ago 0 replies      
anddddddddddd NSFW
saaaam 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well, I organized the hackathon. Does that count?
kenkam 1 day ago 0 replies      
can we please have a NSFW tag
dschiptsov 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is about systemd, I suppose?
tempodox 1 day ago 0 replies      
If no-one needs stupid shit, then what do we have Facebook for?
Announcing .NET 2015 .NET as Open Source, .NET on Mac and Linux
397 points by asyncwords  7 days ago   4 comments top 2
carlesfe 6 days ago 1 reply      
Sorry for the slight off topic, but am I the only one not seeing any comments here? Is something wrong? It's weird since the link has 350+ votes.
u04f061 6 days ago 0 replies      
Dear Microsoft,

Please stay away from Linux.


Linux User

Police Use Department Wish List When Deciding Which Assets to Seize
401 points by molecule  9 days ago   161 comments top 21
lazaroclapp 9 days ago 9 replies      
U.S. Bill of rights, article 7: "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger;[...], nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;"

I am not a lawyer, but I do have to wonder, how is 'civil forfeiture' as a whole compatible with the U.S. constitution (or for that matter, that of any country with both rule of law and capitalist property rights)?

declan 9 days ago 2 replies      
Police abuses of civil asset forfeiture have been around longer than many HN readers have been alive. Here's an example of civil asset forfeiture abuse in 1991 (the practice extends back to at least 1985), which was the subject of congressional testimony in 1996: https://www.aclu.org/technology-and-liberty/statement-rep-he...

I remember going to DC policy seminars on the topic that groups like the ACLU and the Cato Institute held 10-15 years ago, and Cato published a lengthy paper about these abuses in 2006: http://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/balko_whit...

There's even an organization devoted to ending civil asset forfeiture abuses: http://fear.org/

But after roughly three decades of this practice, and over two decades of well-documented abuses, nothing has changed. Why this remains the case, even though every politician and judge is aware or should be aware of these abuses, is left as an exercise for the reader.

adamnemecek 9 days ago 1 reply      
John Oliver's show had a segment on this very topic not that long ago https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kEpZWGgJks
Everlag 9 days ago 3 replies      
It says 'the value of assets seized has ballooned to $4.3 billion in the 2012 fiscal year' which means that, spread across every American, is an extra $1400 tax which is off the books. For perspective, on the highest minimum wage of $9.32 per hour, that's around 150 hours of work. THAT'S AN EFFECTIVE MONTH OF 40 HOUR WORK WEEKS TO AN ILLEGITIMATE, OFF THE BOOKS, EFFECTIVELY UNREGULATED, AND FOR PROFIT TAX.

Disgusted should not even begin to describe the mood of the American people.

EDIT: My math is bad and I feel bad. Its ~$14 a year which is still an hour but oh my, that was an order of a magnitude error!

antmldr 9 days ago 2 replies      
IANAL, but in Commonwealth countries this seems to be mitigated by the use of consolidated revenue funds[0].

It's explicit in s81[1] and 83[2] of the Australian Constitution that all revenues must be deposited into the CRF and you then need a law to appropriate the revenue elsewhere. Similarly, state law seems to point to revenue from civil seizure is paid into treasury.[3]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consolidated_Fund[1] http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/coaca430/s...[2] http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/coaca430/s...[3] http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/cara199027...

sremani 9 days ago 0 replies      
This is John Oliver's commentary on this issue.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kEpZWGgJks

note: Not sure if we can post youtube videos here, but the commentary on the video very relevant to the topic

ObviousScience 9 days ago 3 replies      
> If you want the car, and you really want to put it in your fleet, let me know Ill fight for it, Mr. McMurtry said, addressing law enforcement officials on the video. If you dont let me know that, Ill try and resolve it real quick through a settlement and get cash for the car, get the tow fee paid off, get some money for it.

> In an interview, Mr. McMurtry acknowledged that he exercises a great deal of discretion. The first offense, if its not anything too serious, well come up with a dollar amount, depending on the value of the car and the seriousness of the offense, he said. I try to come up with a dollar amount thats not so high that they cant afford it, but not so low that it doesnt have an impact. If its a second offense, they dont get it back.

What a fucking asshole. That guy is a thug stealing from the public, and he doesn't even try to hide it. He even admits that he's using the practice to impose fines without due process, in direct violation of the constitution.

He's a criminal, and should be treated as such.

> Prosecutors estimated that between 50 to 80 percent of the cars seized were driven by someone other than the owner, which sometimes means a parent or grandparent loses their car.

They're even aware that they're stealing from innocent people, and that they'd likely never get any sort of seizure upheld through having to actually file charges.

Criminals, all of them.

stephengoodwin 9 days ago 0 replies      
I am not a lawyer, but I have heard that cases literally suing property (as opposed to the property owner):

* United States v. $124,700 in U.S. Currency[1]

* United States v. Approximately 64,695 Pounds of Shark Fins[2]

* United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola[3]


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._$124,700_in_U....

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Approximately_...

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Forty_Barrels_...

zaroth 9 days ago 1 reply      
It's great the media at least has woken up to this. So they crank out an article every month or so, basically saying the same thing over again. But even the media isn't willing to fully recognize how much the system has turned, how stacked the deck, how all-seeing, and highly discriminatory, lady justice has now become. "The practice of civil forfeiture has come under fire in recent months..." just comes off as a meek response to the truth on the ground.

Is the system so overrun by spineless pricks there's literally no one left to inject some sanity? No prosecutor who can't understand the irony of sizing up citizens like a thug on a smash-and-grab (go for the flat screens!) Not a soul left in the justice department with enough common decency to make a career out of killing this?

The legislators aren't willing to kill the goose which lays the golden eggs. Is it up to referendums? Who is organizing the offense, and what is the game plan? Where is the coordinated counter-attack? Because without one it's not going to curtail this. I don't think you can simply shame these departments (police and prosecutor) into taking the handcuffs off their belts and slapping them on their own wrists where they apparently belong.

dan_sullivan 9 days ago 1 reply      
Combine this sort of behavior with the fact that they now have unchecked surveillance powers and what do you get?
lukev 9 days ago 1 reply      
What is the likely outcome if a victim of civil forfeiture were to file a lawsuit against the law enforcement body for restitution, on constitutional grounds? Is that legally possible, or is there a precedent for this?

Seems like the ACLU would be all over funding such a suit and taking it as far as necessary.

lsaferite 9 days ago 0 replies      
Reading this article made me sick to my stomach. I'm truly ashamed of my country.
mathattack 9 days ago 0 replies      
The challenge here is that people fighting this have to be convinced to pay higher taxes rather than "Stick it to the criminals." When you ask people to pay for higher principles, sometimes they balk. Of course we know about the road to hell, and today it's a drug dealer's car, and tomorrow it's the opposition party's mayoral candidate.
ck2 9 days ago 0 replies      
We should stop saying seize. It's "steal". It is outright theft.

Even if by some chance the people they were taking it from were doing something wrong, it is still theft because it is done as them being judge, jury and executioner.

PythonicAlpha 9 days ago 0 replies      

What kind of training get the police men? Is it police training or training how to be a crook?

There is one saying in the bible -- I don't want to preach, but some wisdom can be even found in old books -- "A man reaps what he sows".

It seems, this state sows crooks.

forgetaboutit2 9 days ago 0 replies      
The Bill of Rights, Constitution, Constitutional Ammendments haven't been enforced for over 10 years!!
Paradigma11 9 days ago 0 replies      
Why are there no specialized Law firms that take the case for a cut of the assets?
Istof 9 days ago 0 replies      
Can civilians thieves use civil forfeiture, in small claim court, for example?
viggity 9 days ago 1 reply      
Harry Connelly, the one discussing "little goodies" to be seized can be contacted at harryc@las-cruces.org

I've sent him an email expressing my displeasure at his use of Civil Asset Forfeiture.

I'd like to send a similar email to Sean McMurtry, but came up empty trying to find his email address.

misiti3780 9 days ago 0 replies      
anyone what the "last night with john oliver" special on this ?- he got some great video clips of police employees saying some outrageous stuff.
ender89 8 days ago 0 replies      
Always wanted to live in a police state.....
Welcome to a comet
386 points by jbogp  6 days ago   78 comments top 17
gokhan 6 days ago 3 replies      
From Reddit[1]:

"Got fresh news from the team, they are broadcasting live right now on french TV ! Philae landed, and bounced slowly for (1-2-? hours), and travelled 1km away the targetted site. Yes 1000m. Then know this because of the datas from the radar. It's now stopped slanted, some cams are shooting the sky, other the ground, and other nearby rocks, as seen on the first photo. It's inside some kind of cave/hole, not much sun for the solar panels.

EDIT1: It landed on the core of the comet, it sees the light from the sun for about 1 to 2 hours per day. In the next days/week the angle of the comet will change/sun, and it very likely the solar panel will get more sunlight so more power for the probe.

EDIT2 : Many labs are performing right now and performed the whole night. For now they put the drilling on hold since they don't know if it's tied to the ground or not. Drilling op was also power hungry so it's kinda a good thing it's on hold since there's not much sun available for the panels. Battery life been re-estimated to 50-55hours due to the lack of sunlight. This time includes the 7 hours of descent.They are constantly adjusting missions goals, depending on conditions, power available, etc,

EDIT3 : The probe has been working to gather scientifict datas the whole time, including during the bounces. There's already a large amount of datas available, whatever happens next.

EDIT4 : It's resting on "hard" ground, with a layer of dust about 30cm, and that's good news because it allows measurements to proceed as planned. As in, it's not burried into soft soil.

EDIT5 : Solar panels are deployed, radio link is up and running, but the fact the probe is slanted/in a hole/random ground limits the time it can communicate with the orbiter, but that's not jeopardizing the mission. There's already a lot of datas transmitted successfully to the orbiter. Contact between the orbiter and the probe can be approximately done twice per day.

EDIT6 : The first place it touched the comet was exaclty where it was planned, flat and cosy, too bad it didn't harpoon there.

EDIT7 : Next contact will be near 19:30GMT, until 23:45GMT approx. This night they made contact with the probe (from the orbiter) at about 4:00GMT, and at 5:30GMT they had safely recovered all the datas from the first batch of tests."

[1] http://www.reddit.com/r/space/comments/2m63hd/first_civa_ima...

Lrigikithumer 6 days ago 5 replies      
You know I have some bad days some times, but seeing shit like this just makes me think "What a fucking time to be alive!" It's truly incredibly and is sometimes that kick in the pants I need to keep on going. We are living in a golden age of humanity right now, at no point before in human history have so many people had such an incredible quality of life and never before has man been doing such incredible feats and have the ability to reach a worldwide audience almost instantaneously. The fact that just a few hours ago a human designed space craft landed on a comet, after decades of work and I can receive the images fresh from the great minds that brought us this feat, while laying in bed dicking about on my phone, it's just pure and simply astounding.

For all our flaws I love humans and I am so excited to see what the future holds.

Back to the comet, any word on what happened to the harpoons? I heard there was a misfire or they didn't fire or something? Any idea how that's affected the landing as of yet?

jbogp 6 days ago 1 reply      
That's a great achievement in any case. I'm just slightly worried from the looks of this picture that Philae actually stabilized on its side.

Also the large amount of shadow in the area is worrisome for the solar panels to function properly.

Press conference with the release of a full panorama (which will hopefully not confirm the side landing) is scheduled for 1400 CET.

jbogp 6 days ago 2 replies      
Also very interesting, if you look at the high-res picture and zoom at the bottom right, you'll notice some sort of cable on the ground/boulder.

This could be the cable from one of the harpoons that may have fired but didn't anchor themselves, or it could be a feature attached to Philae that's in the field of vision.

binarymax 6 days ago 0 replies      
The sheen coming from the surface where light hits is indicative of some interesting materials on that comet. Looking forward to more photos and especially analysis of the surface composition!
muyuu 6 days ago 2 replies      
Does it have a colour camera? or maybe it's a bandwidth-saving decision to transmit only B&W? or because of the lighting?
lentil_soup 6 days ago 1 reply      
Curious question, is the light in the picture all from the Sun or do they use something artificial?
IndianAstronaut 6 days ago 2 replies      
Moon, Mars, Venus, Titan, and now comet 67p.

Absolutely amazing.

jamesfisher 5 days ago 2 replies      
Possibly stupid question: why are all the images greyscale? Could we not send a color camera? Or is the comet very grey? Or does color not work in space?
rurban 6 days ago 1 reply      
So "Armageddon" was right. A comet looks much more interesting than the Moon or Mars. No boring dunes and flat sands, really rocky.
zachrose 6 days ago 2 replies      
It almost seems like "landing" is too strong a word: Philae has a mass of 100kg and the gravity of ChuryumovGerasimenko is estimated to be 10e3 m/s2, which comes out to a weight of 3.5 ounces, or the equivalent of 100 grams on earth. Let's hope it holds!
netcan 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is exciting. I'm excited.

My reaction to this photo is a little funny. Basically: "Rocks! We have rocks too! Yours look a lot like ours."

I have this desire to find things in common. Like flirting.

TomGullen 6 days ago 2 replies      
I'm curious to know, how far will the landing affect it's orbit?
lostInComm 5 days ago 1 reply      
Ok this has been bugging me...

What is a "CIVA Image"? Everyone is using the term - but not explaining what it is!

afoot 6 days ago 0 replies      
That single image is quite impactful if you know the background to the project. It's like something out of a movie.
harisamin 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty crazy and awesome!
fit2rule 6 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like a pretty rough place to land - I wonder though if this is one of the 'bounce' phases of the landing, and maybe what ended up happening was that it was more of a tumble, due to surface features snagging a leg, or something.. I must admit that during the approach, the landing site looked to me like it might have been 'pretty smooth', like it was a plane of material that didn't look too jagged and nasty, but this photo just looks like we landed in a pretty rough spot. Regardless, seems like some science is going to get done anyway, and that sure is exciting! Can't wait for 14:00 and see some new pics ..
Our landers asleep
391 points by jonnyscholes  4 days ago   160 comments top 14
jordanthoms 4 days ago 3 replies      
It appears to be largely political issues that prevented this mission from using a Radioisotope thermoelectric generator , which would have eliminated this particular problem since solar panels would not be required. [1] This is how the Curiosity rover is powered.

If that is the case it's a massive shame - irrational fear of nuclear technology does a lot of damage.

1 - http://www.space4peace.org/ianus/npsm2.htm#2_3

ThePhysicist 4 days ago 2 replies      
Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn. - Mahatma Gandhi

Let's hope it will wake up and be reborn.

The chances for this seem not that bad, since the comet will heat up considerably as it approaches the sun, which will make it unnecessary to preheat the interior of Philae before starting to charge the batteries, while at the same time increasing the solar power reaching the panels (due to the sun being closer), so the lander might actually generate enough power to recharge the batteries and come alive again. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

anvandare 4 days ago 5 replies      
Anthropomorphizing machines somehow always manages to twang my emotional snares.http://xkcd.com/695/

Good night, little lander. Hope you dream of electric sheep.

tete 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really curious about the results. This is the first time something like this has happened, but with the results, actually knowing a lot of variables, not even from the lander itself other missions will have something to base their work upon.

The first programming languages (static, duck typed, ...), database systems, web frameworks, anonymization frameworks, ... all had a lot of things that were either far from perfect or are now considered stupidity. But when nobody did what you did, when you are a pioneer everyone following would be a fool not to look at your work.

Also a nice example: Operating Systems. In the early days they were considered a waste of energy, time, resources. Why would you want to emulate computers on other computers (no, not visualization, but running multiple programs) or why would you use that valuable memory/storage space to have multiple programs on a machine at once? Those used to be actual questions. But that's a bit far fetched.

The project was/is a real pioneering project and I have lots of respect for people investing all their lives (more than two decades in this case!) so passionately into landing on a comet. Not too long ago that was science fiction.

The first message on the internet (arpanet) was meant to be "login", but it crashed after the o. I think those people got further, even though without doubt it didn't run as hoped for.

stinos 4 days ago 4 replies      
Everytime I read about tech like this I cant help but wonder What kind of mainboard does this run? What CPU? What temp spec? what OS does it run? What is the main laguage? Would it use open source code?

Anyone has a clue or educated guess?

edit thanks to all answers provided, exactly the info I was looking for! And very interesting as well.

Gravityloss 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wish there were a lot more of missions like these. We should accept some failures as well. If the cost can be lowered, the increased risk can be offset by more tries. It's better for the science as well if the missions are more diverse and the lead times are shorter.

I hope humanity grew up, so that failures would not produce so much backlash. Seems everybody feels so entitled in this age.

bitwize 4 days ago 1 reply      
Do not go gentle into that good night, Philae. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
valevk 4 days ago 2 replies      
What kind of data did the lander gather, and will it be open to the public?
splitbrain 4 days ago 2 replies      
I assume that Philae isn't meant to be powered directly by sunlight but has an intermediate battery? So wouldn't it make sense to simply wake him once this battery is full, do some experiment, send the data and go back to sleep until recharged again? Shouldn't that work even with low light conditions, just that the sleep phases would be much longer than planned?The article sounds like they aren't sure Philae will ever wake up again.
erre 4 days ago 3 replies      
Rosetta wouldn't have some mirrors, or even reflective surfaces, would it? It could position itself to reflect sunlight onto Philae.

I mean, I'm sure Rosetta has neither (in useful conditions), but there's a thought for next time :/

guscost 3 days ago 0 replies      
This was a very interesting mission, and sticking the landing alone means that it was a success.

Well done, let's hope some interesting data was collected as a bonus.

guelo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is that a grammatically correct contraction for "Our lander is asleep"?
ForFreedom 3 days ago 0 replies      
We shot that fridge from earth and guided it for 10 years and prior to launch we had it in planning for another 15 years or so to have a battery depletion on the second day?

Why didnt they just use nuclear energy?

justsee 4 days ago 22 replies      
As late as 12 November, the ESA's own FAQ [1] was stating that Philae's minimum mission target was one week of surface operation (powered entirely by primary batteries), with even more operational time powered by back-up batteries (themselves recharged by solar) - resulting in an expected surface operation period measured in months.

They airbrushed the FAQ on 12 November to remove mention of the minimum one week mission target, and inserted among other things '2.5 days'. [2] A diff of the two versions would probably be interesting.

Now with the lander mission prematurely ended an associated scientist is tweeting a very rosy summary [3]:

"What a perfect ending. All the science completed, data received. Primary mission successful. Well done everybody."

How can a week of carefully-planned scientific activities be 'completed' in only 2.5 days? It seems implausible.

How did the primary and secondary batteries not power the lander for the calculated one week+ of operation?

Why aren't they open about what clearly seems to be a major failure with the scientific mission?

It seems a case of intense bureaucratic / political pressure to change targets after they aren't met, and the fact scientists are participating in this is pretty disappointing.

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/20140805030451/http://www.esa.in...

[2] http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta/Freq...

[3] https://twitter.com/rocketeddy/status/533421309553016832

0h h1 A little logic game
406 points by mrtnkl  6 days ago   152 comments top 38
typomatic 5 days ago 6 replies      
This is Unruly from Simon Tatham's puzzle collection: http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/puzzles/

I install this on literally every device I own. Windows machines, linux machines, android machines. It's a great source of small, procedurally generated puzzles. I often just put on some music and zone out playing Pearl for a while.

e: If you're on Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install sgt-puzzles

e2: I misremembered, it's not precisely Unruly--Unruly allows you to repeat rows/columns. But whatever, go install these games!

jsnell 6 days ago 6 replies      
A few bits of feedback:

- There's no list of rules anywhere. If you forget any rule, you need to go through the tutorial again.

- Is the tutorial missing a rule? (It has the "no two identical rows" rule, but it seems like you also can't have two identical columns).

- The endgame needs work. Right now it's simply highlighting every square that's wrong, rather than just telling which rule was broken. This is absolutely ridiculous, since at that point the player can simply flip every highlighted square and pass (and score the full points?).

There are two alternatives I can think of:

a) Instead of telling which squares are wrong, find an instances of the rules being broken. So for example highlight two rows that are equal, or a column of 3 identical squares, etc.

b) End the game when the board is full, but dock points for incorrect spaces, rather than force the player to go through the busywork of just toggling all squares that were wrong.

spb 5 days ago 2 replies      
It would be better if I could set red or blue with one click rather than having to cycle through. Some UI like this, where X is Red and O is blue:

     _______    |     \X|    |      \|    |\      |    |O\_____|     ```````
Tapping the red or blue corner of an unset gray tile would would set the tile to the tapped color, and tapping a red or blue tile would unset it back to gray.

Also, the "fixed" tiles of the puzzle need to be presented in a different style from the "dynamic" tiles the user can set.

Is there a GitHub repo for this?

phest 5 days ago 1 reply      
(Edit: so this is a pre-existing game concept. Should have read the about page first :) Thanks for showing me this game in a nice little implementation anyway. & my feedback/suggestion still stands.)

Outstanding work. This is an excellent, simple and original logic game, well done.

Only negative thing I experienced: it can be tough(/not particularly fun) to find similar rows/columns when playing on larger grids. And I don't feel like finding similar complex line patterns is where the game design esthetic shines. Not sure how you could solve this. Perhaps some sort of visualization of similarity of rows for larger grids? Say two rows are identical (minus missing tiles), then the same little icon could appear to the right of each row. Icons could be differentiated by shape, or color. Just an idea. Good work :)

Disclaimer: I'm a game designer

jws 5 days ago 0 replies      
I like the effort that went into the eyeball command. It speaks to you like a human. That is, rather than showing a cell hint, it works out how you would get there and tells you that.

I did similarly in a sudoku game, it is an interesting exercise that then colors your thinking about error messages in future programming.

readerrrr 5 days ago 3 replies      
10x10 solved. It seems too easy. It is almost an auto solver, you just have to find two blocks of the same color together, or two blocks with the same color with an empty block in-between.

Great for a young person, but I would like to see a version with more rules and constraints to follow.

The UI and the UI feedback is outstanding though.

cousin_it 5 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting! It looks like the game never requires you to backtrack, there's always a way forward by applying some rule exactly once. I guess that's why you have the requirement for unique rows and columns (which is pretty jarring gameplay wise), otherwise the forced games would be much more boring.

That kinda limits the possible intellectual enjoyment from the game, though. Without the requirement for unique rows and columns, the game would become Simon Tatham's "Unruly" (http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/puzzles/js/unrul...), which is extremely fun because you need to think ahead :-)

chx 2 days ago 0 replies      
For the 8x8 table there's a trick you can do which I suspect the heuristics never considers (because the rule violation is not 1 but many steps away): if you have a chit of one color on 1, 5 and one more above 5 then any more above 5 can't be of this color otherwise 2-4 all three would need to be of the opposite color and that's illegal.

Same for 1,2,4: 5 is of the opposite color otherwise 6-8 are of one color.

tehwalrus 5 days ago 1 reply      
Is every puzzle deterministic? I've twice now run out of rules to apply, just seen a solution and tapped it in. I'd hate to have to go and unmark all the squares since I guessed!
busterarm 5 days ago 2 replies      
The fact that the game doesn't accept valid solutions besides the one it wants is a turn-off.
anon4 6 days ago 1 reply      

I don't understand what's wrong here.

Chirono 5 days ago 0 replies      
Really nice idea, but it seems like quite a reliable way to win is to fill all the squares in red, and then change all the places it tells you are wrong.

Perhaps rather than pointing out which cells are wrong, highlight the group/row/column that break the rules instead. That might make it slightly harder.

logicpuzzles 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is basically http://www.conceptispuzzles.com/index.aspx?uri=puzzle/tic-ta...

If you are interested in those kind of puzzles there might be more logic puzzles on this page that you like.

jastanton 6 days ago 2 replies      
Does this remind any one else of Sudoku? In the same vein at least. Anyways very cool, great job!
recursive 5 days ago 0 replies      
If you resize the browser window, the UI kind of loses its mind, and can't be restored without reloading the whole page.


jisaacstone 5 days ago 5 replies      
Having trouble finding the problem with this solution: http://i.imgur.com/ToduSGR.jpg

Anyone see what the issue is? Been staring for 20 minutes . . .

mrtnkl 5 days ago 0 replies      
0h h1 is now available on Github. Clone away :)


bumbledraven 5 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a solver for the puzzle: http://pastebin.com/ws6wv6Ew

It's written in clingo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Answer_set_programming)

jweather 5 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome, this is really well done. I especially like how the hint function reminds you of the rules you've forgotten.
skykooler 5 days ago 1 reply      
It would be nice if you could set the color to blue by right-clicking rather than double-clicking.
jtolds 6 days ago 0 replies      
Clicking the top row seems broken sometimes. I suspect when I think I'm clicking a cell on the top row that I'm actually clicking the board size element ("4x4" or "10x10"), and it's not transferring through to the underlying cell.
fogleman 5 days ago 1 reply      
Love the game. Just wrote a solver in Python:


ShoePooPoo 6 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe it's just broken for me? All I see is a dark screen, although all sources load. I also downloaded the page and sources and tried to launch locally- nothing works. Maybe it's my locked down work computer?
vlunkr 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is really fun! My suggestion is to think of a more memorable name. I've played several times today and I've forgotten the name every time and had to come back to HN to find it.
readerrrr 5 days ago 1 reply      
edit: I'm wrong.

I have found a correct solution, yet the game doesn't accept it:

B r r B

r B B r

B B r B

B r B r

The correct solution was:

B r r B

r B B r

B B r r

r r B B

My guess to this is that there are more than one solutions to the problem and checking if the board is solved is done by finding the first solution and comparing it to yours.

egregiouscoder 5 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool concept! At first I thought it was going to be like 2048, but it ended up being more of a challenge which I enjoy. Would love to see an app version of this
ggchappell 5 days ago 0 replies      
Very nicely done.

It seems like the solution is always unique, for a given starting point. Is this the case?

publicfig 5 days ago 0 replies      
Would love to disable the helper at the end of the game. Kind of ruins it for me. Otherwise, it's fun!
kelvin0 5 days ago 3 replies      
I would like to know what tools/frameworks/languages were use to develop this cool game. I know it boils down to HTML5/CSS/JS, but was it DART? TypeScript? What frameworks did you use? I want to start a small game as a web app, but I'm having trouble settling into which tools ... so far I'm tinkering with DART and Polymer ... ideas, suggestions?
Sarien 6 days ago 3 replies      
awesor 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have a feeling we're embarking on the next 2048-like trend! Awesome game!
NKCSS 5 days ago 0 replies      
Fun, its a lot like binairo
tuxone 5 days ago 0 replies      
it's like playing Sudoku merged with Minesweeper, I really enjoy it!
ilija139 5 days ago 0 replies      
It makes a mistake when more than one solution is possible.
nazgul 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is absolutely fantastic -- love it! Thanks for making this.
grimtrigger 5 days ago 0 replies      
You should have an overview of the rules on the game page.
GuriK 6 days ago 2 replies      
This is awesome, but tutorial seems slow and boring.

Friendly reminder: launch iOS/Android version before someone else does

All cameras are police cameras
382 points by alandarev  9 days ago   220 comments top 16
cones688 9 days ago 16 replies      
It's interesting as the only involvement I have had with CCTV was positive.

On a night out in a city, myself and my friend were walking home from a club about 3.30am. We were joking about me being from the North and him being southern (a common UK joke), this was unfortunately overheard by someone nearby who took it personally and started punching my friend in the head, I managed to break it up and the other chaps mates pulled him away as his was rather inebriated. A girl nearby ran over after seeing this and called the police and within a minute a police officer had arrived - the most interesting and relevant part was that the officer had been dispatached by CCTV operators who had seen the whole incident. The policeman was being relayed that the perpetrator had been already arrested by a colleague down the street (after CCTV identified him), the officer with us knew it was an unprovoked attack as the CCTV operator saw at no point did we interact with the assailant, so treated us with respect and started explaining the options for prosecution.

I appreciate the flip side of the coin but personally now feel much safer when in an area with CCTV.

davb 9 days ago 2 replies      
While the article itself was interesting (if not at all surprising), one thing that really caught my eye was the reference to 1 Bessborough Gardens.

There are few references to it online, other than a planning permission application [1] mentioning five roof-mounted satellite dishes and an oil fuelled generator, and a mention [2] that the property was bought by investors in 2006 for 45m and leased to the government.

I wonder what it's used for and why it's such a secret.

[1] http://transact.westminster.gov.uk/CSU/Planning%20Applicatio...

[2] http://csbgroup.co.uk/index.php?page=history3

4ndr3vv 9 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of the comments here are about the benefits of CCTV generally and not addressing the meat of the article (imo) regarding to the system wide automated recording and storage of personal data by government organisations without any justification.

Quoting the article:"Surveillance images attain the status of evidence for unknown crimes the moment they are created, and merely await the identification of the moment they were created for."

Ofcourse a plod watching a CCTV camera is a good thing.A network of cameras that tracks my car as it passes down every street, and stores that data in police database forever without any suspicion against me? That is a totally different thing.

simoncarter 9 days ago 8 replies      
Photographers being detained seems to be an unfortunately frequent occurrence in London (anecdotal belief rather than based on any numbers). There are a number of videos on youtube of people having filmed themselves being detained for the same or similar reasons. It is tricky issue; you want to prevent terrorists gaining information on the security measures of certain buildings/areas, while allowing non violent citizens to go about their day. However I fear if terrorists were to do this, they would be more subtle, using hidden cameras, or working off memory and multiple trips, so seems like the current approach only impacts genuine photographers and concerned citizens. Usually, looking at the videos on youtube, the most unsettling part is the behaviour of the security guards and police officers, though I do seem to remember one video where the police officer/PCSO was reasonable.
hobs 9 days ago 2 replies      
What a great article.

The sad thing about all of this is that the dinguses on the police state side are not evil monsters, they think this is the only way to protect us from some undefined attack, and if a few rights are trampled on the way, well you are going to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

It practically encourages bullies in the police force to take their will out on the people, and there is no real mechanism for justice for the citizens affected. The constant excuse "but it will make you safer!" or "think of the children!" is chanted while more and more of your privacy is eroded.

Any terrorist could simply use non-human intelligence to gather information on most structures of import, or if needed, would have a much better plan to deal with the problem of being identified as someone casing the place.

sighsigh 9 days ago 1 reply      
These comments disturb me more than the article. Saying more cameras prevent crime is like saying more logging reduces your attack surface. Let's just ditch firewalls and add kernel dumps everywhere instead. My rate is $150 an hour.

Sometimes, HNs political naivety deeply undermines their technological contributions.

un5l1 9 days ago 0 replies      
OpenStreetMap is a great tool for visualising the surveillance state. This site is just one example: http://osmcamera.tk

Tens of thousands of cameras have been mapped already, I would urge anyone who studies surveillance like the author to put their findings in a public database so efforts will be collaborative.

More info on how to add cameras to OSM here: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:man_made%3Dsurveilla...

polynomial 8 days ago 1 reply      
The main problem isn't the presence of surveillance cameras. The problem is who has privileged access to them.

Currently it tends toward the Platonic 'Polis' model with a distinct class of people (The "po-lice") given sole responsibility for enforcement and access to the omni-panopticon(while being themselves above the law.)

However if we apply Linus' Law (with many eyes, all bugs are shallow) it makes much more sense to give access to surveillance back to the people being surveilled.

Shivetya 9 days ago 2 replies      
Just wait till all police officers are cameras, we will come to the day where they will be able to record the entire shift, whether they are on patrol, on break, or actually in the process of arrest.

Considering how heavily license plate scanners are deployed with inconsistent protection of privacy there should be work done at a national level to regulate the gathering and retention of the data.

simplemath 8 days ago 0 replies      
I find the tone of general acceptance of surveillance in this discourse deeply upsetting.
sgnelson 8 days ago 0 replies      
What I find ironic about the story of Photographing the CCTV cameras is that he obviously most of had a "real" camera (one that can be readily identified as an old fashioned cameras.

However, every one and their mom has smartphone with a camera attached. Yet it's the people who've invested money in more "professional" cameras that we have to be scared of (even though they are the more conspicuous users of photography.)

badname 9 days ago 0 replies      
Copying one of the commends:

The poor are collectively unseizable. They are not only the majority on the planet, they are everywhere and the smallest event speaks of them. This is why the essential activity of the rich today is the building of walls walls of concrete, of electronic surveillance, of missile barrages, minefields, frontier controls, and opaque media screens.

John Berger Ten Dispatches About Endurance in the Face of Walls (October 2004)

patmcguire 8 days ago 0 replies      
Some Google searches that will get you surveillance footage....


inurl:axis-cgi/mjpg (motion-JPEG)






intitle:i-Catcher Console Web Monitor

There are many more. What's going to stop the police, or anyone for that matter, from using those?

s_q_b 8 days ago 0 replies      
If we all wore universal body cameras, but the recordings were encrypted with a key only the wearer knew, could we fight back against public surveillance with private surveillance?

Interesting idea. Personally, I think CCTV does more good than harm. There's no right to privacy in public places.

ha292 8 days ago 0 replies      
There is a serious issue with cameras in countries that have less than stellar record of protecting civil liberties. That would probably me 80-90% of the countries.

No, cameras aren't increasing security in those societies.

gambiting 8 days ago 1 reply      
I am very curious about one thing still - with so many traffic cameras in London, how are cars still stolen there? There have been thousands of cars stolen in London just this year, and I don't understand how? As soon as the car is reported stolen, any camera scanning its licence plate anywhere in the country should sound alarm bells at the nearest police department. Why has this not been implemented yet?
MetricsGraphics.js D3-based library optimized for visualizing time-series data
378 points by bog-bog-bog  5 days ago   74 comments top 25
couchand 4 days ago 7 replies      
As I usually point out when D3 libraries come up, using a library like this will only get you so far. It's amazing how many feature requests are sprinkled throughout the comments here, and every one of them would be trivial changes if you're working with the underlying D3 principles.

Spend a little time learning how D3 works. It will be well worth it. To get started, read through any tutorial you find written by Mike Bostock.

Required reading: Let's Make a Bar Chart[0], Thinking with Joins [1], How Selections Work [2], General Update Pattern [3], Nested Selections [4], Object Constancy [5], Working with Transitions [6], Three Little Circles [7].

For more tutorials, check out this list on the D3 wiki [8].

[0]: http://bost.ocks.org/mike/bar/

[1]: http://bost.ocks.org/mike/join/

[2]: http://bost.ocks.org/mike/selection/

[3]: http://bl.ocks.org/mbostock/3808218

[4]: http://bost.ocks.org/mike/nest/

[5]: http://bost.ocks.org/mike/constancy/

[6]: http://bost.ocks.org/mike/transition/

[7]: http://bost.ocks.org/mike/circles/

[8]: https://github.com/mbostock/d3/wiki/Tutorials

_almosnow 4 days ago 2 replies      
On the scatterplot examples, when it automatically highlights the closest point to your mouse pointer (maybe using some kind of underlying voronoi field) I nerdgasmed.
eric_bullington 5 days ago 3 replies      
Congrats on an extremely well-done library. Glad to see d3 getting addition options with a much higher level of abstraction for those users who just want to make a common visualization with a minimum of fuss.

I've just started my on take on a high-level chart library based on d3, one that leverages React components [1]. I'm hoping to retain an equally simple interface as MetricGraphics. In fact, I'm sure I'll draw a lot of inspiration from this excellent chart library.

My library is still very early stage, but I'd love to get feedback on possible directions from React users and others interested in dataviz (someone mentioned candlesticks, which I'm noting down in my todo).

1. http://esbullington.github.io/react-d3/

nawitus 4 days ago 1 reply      
I implemented something similar with Dygraphs. The "killer feature" with that was instantly zooming to any detail (e.g. from 1 year to a time window of 10 milliseconds). The client would instantly show the level of detail possible with the current dataset, and fetch the detailed datapoints in around 100-200 ms.

Anyway, I believe zooming to be a very typical feature for time-series (e.g. Google Finance supports that), so I hope this library has good support for it too.

foxpc 5 days ago 5 replies      
Oh! This is sadly a bit too late as I've recently switched from Highcharts to Flot because I did not want to buy the so-expensive commercial license for Highcharts.

I like how minimalistic the graphs look. Though, missing the pie chart.

I might just switch to this if I see that it's going somewhere ;)

orthecreedence 4 days ago 0 replies      
While I am actively learning D3 itself, I really like the style of this library and its abilities. It makes almost 100% of the same design decisions I would make when plotting the kinds of charts it does. I've been looking for an open-source project like this for ages. I know about a lot of others (like nvd3) but never quite felt like anything provided the level of interaction (specifically hover states) I wanted. I'm excited to give Metrics a shot.
findjashua 4 days ago 1 reply      
A major 'feature' of D3 is its ability to update the dom with the new svg elements.

Given that libraries like Ractive and React handle dom updates in a much more sane fashion (just re-render the entire virtual dom instead of mucking around with individual nodes), all I really want is a library to generate path attributes for the svg elements, and hence find paths.js to be a much simpler option.

kordless 5 days ago 1 reply      
I've looked at a LOT of time series graphing libraries over the last few years. Well done on MetricsGraphics for making it look great, powerful and easy to use: http://metricsgraphicsjs.org/interactive-demo.htm
pachydermic 5 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome. I just happened to be thinking of how to do this... I think you just saved me a lot of time and effort.

I'd like to have zooming for my graphs. Any ideas about adding that? If I can manage it/get to it on my own I'll let you guys know.

reduce 4 days ago 1 reply      
Some nice stuff here. My feature request: this badly needs a vertical crosshair for the multi-line charts, to see what are all the values at that point on the x-axis at once.
ollybee 5 days ago 2 replies      
Can't wait to see a graphite front end based on this.
germanforblack 4 days ago 0 replies      
I just realised that this project has been released under the mozilla github account this (might) mean that it'll be actively maintained, and perhaps better documented than other libraries around.

:thumbsup: Looks really great

grayclhn 4 days ago 0 replies      
These are pretty, but I put absolutely no faith in a "confidence band" implemented by anyone who doesn't feel a need to explain their formula. It's surprisingly difficult (serial correlation, for one thing.)
alphahelix 4 days ago 0 replies      
This seems to offer a small subset of the functionality of plottable.js
ckluis 5 days ago 0 replies      
I like opinionated libraries like this with sensible options.
romansanchez 4 days ago 0 replies      
Couldn't find in the docs. Does this support epoch timestamps? Does it support more granular x-axis ticks, eg hours, min, sec?
darkmarmot 4 days ago 1 reply      
I would love to use this -- I just wish it had a stripped down version without the dependencies: especially no bootstrap....
hackerews 5 days ago 0 replies      
Not too shabby. Check out dygraphs for some inspiration. Lots of powerful features and handles huge datasets.
wildbunny 5 days ago 2 replies      
Cool, but needs candlesticks!
kurtfunai 5 days ago 0 replies      
These look fantastic! I will definitely be using this library in the future.
applecore 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks great, but Highcharts is still way ahead for visualizing time series data.

Highcharts: http://www.highcharts.com/

cosud 4 days ago 0 replies      
what about a live data option ? That's the one feature of highcharts I use the most.
hijinks 4 days ago 0 replies      
oh wow.. i'd love to see an addition to this for tessera.
orion138 4 days ago 0 replies      
where does this fit between rickshaw and flot?
Partnering with Mozilla
387 points by tete  7 days ago   102 comments top 9
hackuser 7 days ago 9 replies      
One major challenge:

Using Tor, end users can easily and unintentionally compromise their confidentiality by disclosing information explicitly (e.g., their email logon) or implicitly (habits, browser fingerprints, and other identifiers); it takes discipline to remain anonymous on Tor and even technically skilled hidden service operators, with reason to be paranoid about illegal businesses, fail to do it. Also, leaked documents say that use of security services, including VPNs and I think Tor also, causes the data to be retained by the NSA for future decryption.

How can Mozilla and their partners provide confidentiality in a way that increases end-user security, rather than attracting further scrutiny or, far worse, providing dangerously false assurances? The answer cannot depend on end users understanding the technology or subtle tradeoffs; the vast majority will never understand.

One thought: Route all Firefox users through Tor relays by default, creating some security-through-obscurity. There are problems with that, of course, including the blacklisting of Tor relays from many sites.

navyrain 7 days ago 2 replies      
This sort of this is pretty exciting. Now that users are aware of NSA hijinks, and are familiar with the Privacy modes of their current browsers, I'd like to see Mozilla move towards a "Super Privacy" mode where they route over a built-in Tor client.

Of course, the dream would be to have all Firefox clients run Tor relay nodes out of the box, backed by Mozilla-supported exit nodes.

grumpo 7 days ago 2 replies      
Hm. I'm thinking Mozilla may be a modern day NRA.

The point of the right to bear arms is to protect the people from a government engaging in tyranny. The point of TOR is ideally the same. Maybe it's time to classify encryption as a weapon again.

kbart 7 days ago 1 reply      
"Mozilla will help address this by hosting high-capacity Tor middle relays"Mozzila has my trust (at least for now), but concentrating large part of Tor infrastructure in a single point inside USA jurisdiction does not seem like a good and future proof idea.
okasaki 7 days ago 2 replies      
We need adblock and noscript in Firefox, not tor.
Tepix 7 days ago 1 reply      
"Mozilla is an industry leader in developing features to support the users desire for increased privacy online"

Is that why they enable 3rd party cookies by default and hide the option to block them?

(Unlike Apple's Safari)

kijin 7 days ago 1 reply      
More relays? That's great, but why not exit nodes?

Mozilla certainly has the manpower and infrastructure to operate a bunch of exit nodes, and if they have any legal qualms about it, hey, they just partnered with an EFF project, right?

tempestn 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is great. Even if not all changes in the Tor Browser fork are appropriate to be merged back into Firefox (and certainly not all will be), for every one that they can merge, it both makes Firefox more secure and frees up Tor developers from maintaining those differences. Sounds like a win all around.
hadoukenio 7 days ago 3 replies      
I'm guessing Mozilla's Tor middle relays will soon be a part of PRISM
380 points by uptown  21 hours ago   77 comments top 18
orand 18 hours ago 2 replies      
There are actually 4 different types of Apple Watch apps:

1. Glances

2. Actionable notifications

3. Extension WatchKit apps (extension runs on iPhone, view runs on watch)

4. Fully native apps

It appears 1, 2, and 3 will be available for the initial launch, while #4 will be available later next year, probably starting with a beta released at WWDC.

apike 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Particularly interesting are the Human Interface Guidelines for Apple Watch: https://developer.apple.com/library/prerelease/ios/documenta...

They feature various previously unknown details about the watch, for example that the two sizes have different display resolutions, 340px and 390px respectively.

wiremine 19 hours ago 4 replies      
Am I groking this right? The Watchkit app actually runs on the iPhone as an extension, and just the UI component runs on the watch hardware?

Edit: better direct link: https://developer.apple.com/library/prerelease/ios/documenta...

"The Watch app resides on the users Apple Watch and contains only storyboard and resource files; it does not contain any code. The WatchKit extension resides on the users iPhone (inside your containing iOS app) and contains the code and resource files for managing your Watch apps interface."

jmduke 20 hours ago 5 replies      
An interesting tidbit from the HIG (https://developer.apple.com/library/prerelease/ios/documenta...):

Create prerendered animations using a sequence of static images. Store canned animations in your Watch app bundle so that they can be presented quickly to the user. Canned animations also let you deliver high frame rates and smoother animations. Creating animations dynamically from your WatchKit extension and transferring them to Apple Watch adds a delay before playback can begin.

This is not a good sign as to the power of the watch, unless I'm drastically misinterpreting things.

arihant 15 hours ago 4 replies      
I would buy this watch, but I'm completely convinced that Android Wear is more spot-on for the watch UX with their card based user interface. It does have all these features, the glaces, the actionable notification, extension apps, but from UI standpoint it is just a card. Also, the UI on Android Wear is prettier. I'm not sure why Apple is using black ugly buttons that remind me on very first Nokia multimedia color phones.
gdubs 17 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a lot of groaning about the constraints of the platform (battery life, available interface components, etc), but I for one am excited by these constraints. It can be a really fun and interesting challenge to design within constraints, and in this respect the watch reminds me of the early days of mobile computing. Those tiny little battery-limited devices forced one to think differently about what a UI is, compared to the gargantuan desktop computers and their nearly cinematic display resolution.
pavlov 21 hours ago 4 replies      
Based on the typography guidelines, the DIN-like font used on the Apple Watch is named "San Francisco":https://developer.apple.com/library/prerelease/ios/documenta...

Here's hoping it will replace Helvetica on iDevices and Macs as well...

drewying 19 hours ago 1 reply      
A quick scan makes it look like you don't have direct access to create your own UI elements, you are stuck to the prebuilt stuff.

This definitely is designed to maximize battery life

Hopka 19 hours ago 3 replies      
Following that link consistently makes my Firefox crash. Anybody else experiencing this?
RamaCat 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I think they've gone about this the wrong way, architecturally. I would have streamed draw commands to the watch and received touch events back, with the watch hardware essentially being a display client with no compute power of it's own. That would cut silicon real estate, remove the need for local wifi, etc - and placed the development focus on a super low latency wireless command stream. That way, the watch, as a product, would last much longer between upgrades, and your UI complexity would be bound by the host phone, not the little SoC.
k-mcgrady 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Yay! This will keep me busy next weekend I'm sure. Quickly glanced through the catalog of objects available and it doesn't seem to be borrowing UI from iPhone the way iPad did. Some similar UI elements but judging by the names they are different implementations and not just differently scaled/laid out.
iamandybarnard 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Do you think we will be able to build custom watch faces at some point?
rmcpherson 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Are they allowing access to the sensor data from the watch? I'm particularly interested in heart rate.

A brief scan of the documentation didn't show anything obvious.

sunnynagra 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Anyone have a link to available APIs?
seivan 12 hours ago 0 replies      
You can cache images on the watch using WKInterfaceDevice.currentDevice() but there is no way to check if an image has been cached, lol.

Can store up to 20 mb.

gajeam 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Looked like there were a lot of motion detectors on the Apple Watch. Any guesses on whether they'll expose that in the SDK soon?
Taek 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm happy to see new products and a competitive landscape but frustrated to see Apple (and others) using different development processes. It's already painful to write apps that work on all 3 major mobile OSes, but now watch app developers have a huge set of watches they need to develop for too.

Frustratating to see products each trying to compete using their own closed ecosystem, because it hurts developers and it hurts innovation.

Pirate Bay Founder Peter Sunde Released from Prison
379 points by lelf  8 days ago   200 comments top 6
ohashi 8 days ago 0 replies      
Welcome back Peter.
carlisle_ 8 days ago 15 replies      
>There was no concern for his vegan diet

I can't be the only one that thinks it's ridiculous for a prison to accommodate voluntary diets like this.

jsmthrowaway 8 days ago 16 replies      
It's pretty rich that almost this entire thread is arguing about the prison not respecting Sunde's vegan wishes and his personal wealth and ideals. There are more than ninety comments here and all of them hang off nearly-dead comments.

The entire point of prison is to suck, otherwise it wouldn't serve its role, which is to deter crime. Louis CK has a bit about this in one of his recent specials:

    ...but we really need the law against murder, for    one simple reason: the law against murder is the number    one thing preventing murder. We'd like to think it's    because "oh, I would never do that," no, it's because    it really sucks getting caught murdering. A lot. [1]
Debating the prison's respect for Sunde's vegan wishes misses the forest for the trees. Honestly, if that's your biggest concern from reading this article, you have really messed up priorities. How about the fact that he went to maximum at all?

Anyway, just an oddly off-topic thread here, thought I'd point it out. It's even more fun because I've been detained, so reading some of the arguments makes it clear that I'm one of the only people with that experience here. Prison's not something you can just try, to see what it's like, so unless you've been there it's usually wise to assume the worst things are true rather than being optimistic about rights and common sense. If one thing is true about detention, it's that rights and common sense don't matter at all when the door's closed and nobody's looking.

Also, welcome back, Peter.

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQUr2RkjykU

zxcvvcxz 8 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know which state prisons have a gluten free option? I need to figure out where to commit my next offense.
johansch 8 days ago 0 replies      
TIL: Once people have decided that someone is a hero, facts cannot change their outlook. I thought HN was populated by smarter people than that, but I was wrong.
johansch 8 days ago 3 replies      
Going back to enjoying the off-the records millions made by putting shady ads on thepiratebay.se for 10+ years.

I seriously have a very hard time time to understand the widespread sympathy for this gang. If they would have gone without ads, sure.

       cached 19 November 2014 16:11:02 GMT